Forest department concerned about upcoming Zoo Act
The Bangladesh Forest Department arranged a seminar to observe World Wildlife Day at its headquarters in Dhaka’s Agargaon, on Tuesday.
At the seminar, Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin said an act (draft of Zoo Act) that is harmful for wildlife should not be enacted.
World Wildlife Day was celebrated following the theme, "sustaining all life on Earth," asserting the importance of wild animals and plant species as key components of the world's biodiversity.
Md Shahab Uddin said: “We will call an inter-ministerial meeting for discussing issues regarding Zoos and Museums. We will instruct the ministries to restrain from forming any act which will harm wildlife.”
Chief Conservator of Forests Mohammed Shafiul Alam Chowdhury said: “According to the draft of the new Zoo Act, permission to set up a Zoo in both private or public sectors will be provided by the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock. Numerous zoos will be set up in the country which will campaign against poaching and selling meat of wildlife animals.”
Muqeed Majumder Babu, chairman of Prokriti O Jibon Foundation said: “Zoos should be run under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change so that they can conserve forests, wildlife, and ecosystems.”
Chairman of the parliamentary standing committee of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Saber Hossain Chowdhury said the Forest act was enacted in 1927 during British times to establish government control over forests. There is no mention of conservation, so an act for forest conservation is needed.
Jahidul Kabir, director of Sheikh Kamal Wildlife Center in Gazipur said: “The Forest Department has done many things for wildlife conservation. 45 reserve areas were declared, of them 19 are national parks, 20 wildlife sanctuaries, three ecoparks, two special biodiversity reserves, and one marine protected area. To increase wildlife population, two safari parks were established."