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Dhaka Tribune

A sad ending for an endangered elephant

The elephant was stuck in a swamp for almost 30 hours

Update : 10 Nov 2019, 09:18 PM

In a heart-rending turn of events, a female Asian elephant-- a critically endangered species-- which was rescued from a swamp in Chittagong, has died.

"The elephant, categorized under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, died around 6am on Sunday,” said Abu Naser Md Yasin Newaz, divisional forest officer of the Wildlife Management and Nature Conservation Division, Chittagong.

It was rescued by the Forest Department members from Chunati under Lohagara upazila around 12:30pm on Saturday, after being stuck in the swamp for almost 30 hours.

“The 70-year-old elephant had sustained injuries on her back left foot. She had also been suffering from lung infection and gangrene (a condition that occurs when body tissue dies),” Naser said.

Referring to the autopsy performed on the elephant, he suspected that it might not have had enough  food for days before its death.

On Friday morning, locals first spotted the elephant stuck in the swamp at Narisha village, which is adjacent to Chunati Wildlife Sanctuary.

Photo shows an injured Asian Elephant, rescued by the Forest Department members from Chunati under Lohagara upazila on Saturday, November 9, 2019 । Collected

Later, two separate teams of the Forest Department rescued it.

The Forest Department official expressed his dissatisfaction over the gradual loss of habitat for elephants, which has recently intensified due to some development projects and especially the 2017 Rohingya influx.  

“It is high time we put in our best efforts to ensure a safe future of the Asian elephant population,” he suggested.

The reserve forest and the Chunati Wildlife Sanctuary are well known for the endangered species, as they are a major corridor for the Asian elephants between Bangladesh and Myanmar.

In August 2016, another Asian elephant had died after being rescued from a Jamalpur shoal. It, too, had been stuck in a swamp for days, after being swept down by the strong currents of the Brahmaputra river from the northeast Indian state of Assam.

Four days later, it was tranquilized and pulled out of the swamp. Later, the elephant died from a cardiac arrest.

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