Rohingya refugee crisis and human vs. elephant (Elephas maximus) conflicts in Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh

Document Type: Original Article

Author

Laboratory of Tropical Forest Resources and Environments, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University,Japan

10.22120/jwb.2019.35217

Abstract

About 930,000 Rohingya people were migrated in the Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh following the ethnic cleansing violence in the Rakhine State of Myanmar. They built their camps by clearing the natural forests and social forestry plantations which was one of the important natural habitat and corridor of critically endangered wild Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) in Bangladesh. The Rohingya people extensively collected timber and fuelwood for construction and cooking from the forests and destroyed nearly 2,000 hectares of forest land. As a result, in search of food and route for natural movement, E. maximus entered into the camps, destroyed the settlements and a severe human-elephant conflicts arose resulted in 13 refugees were killed and nearly 50 people were injured. Studies revealed that there are 48 E. maximus is roaming around the camps, and all most all the incidents occurred during the dawn time where male and children were the main victims. Government, aid agencies and NGOs are operating in the field to take on the state of affairs. They commenced to enhance consciousness, setting up 56 watchtowers and 30 volunteer elephant response teams to warn residents when elephants enter the camp. Reduction in demand of fuelwood through supplementing the alternative fuel, reforestation with native and fruit-bearing tree species, agroforestry practices, plantation of elephant preferred fodder species, ensure safe trans-boundary corridors, and non-forestry income-generating activities can reduce and mitigate the Rohingya and. E. maximus conflicts.

Keywords


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