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Bangladesh - Elephants from India run wild, destroy crops, homes in Kurigram

Farmers of the bordering area in Roumari upazila in Kurigam district have become worried due to the damage caused on their crops and houses by wild elephants from India over the last one week.

A herd of wild elephants enter the bordering area every night and eat up paddy and other crops, causing huge losses to farmers.

Farmers are trying to drive the elephants away by torching fire and playing drums but to no avail.

Locals said a herd of wild elephants numbering 25-30 have been entering the bordering area of the upazila through Garo hill for the last one week and destroying the standing crops in Algachar, Kheuarchar, Bakbanda, Jhaubari, Chuliarchar and Boraibari areas, reports UNB.

The affected farmers said the elephants entered the area through the pillar no 1057 and 1072 every night and then took position at the no man’s land after damaging their crops.

It also attacked the houses of the farmers, they said.

Abul Hossain, a resident of Baraibari char, said, “The herd of elephants have eaten up ripe paddy from a bigha of land and destroyed other crops. Every year I have to incur massive losses due to the elephants.”

Mohammad Ruhul Amin, former MP of Roumari upazila, said, “We have informed the matter to the authorities concerned of the two countries to prevent the entrance of the elephants.”

Shahriar Hossain, an Upazila Agriculture officer, said they are working to assess the losses in the area. “We have asked the farmers to harvest their paddy as soon as possible,” he said.

Mohammad Al Imran, upazila Nirbahi Officer, said they have informed the matter to the higher authorities concerned.

According to a study, ‘Status of Asian Elephants in Bangladesh’ jointly conducted by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Bangladesh and Bangladesh Forest Department, there are a total of 39 natural crossing points that elephants use regularly to migrate between Bangladesh and neighbouring countries.

Among them, about 33 crossing points are along the Indian border and the remaining six are on the Myanmar frontier area. Most of the crossing points fall in Bangladesh’s northern part.

About the vagrant trans-boundary elephant-crossing points, the study revealed that seven points were identified along the international boundary of northeastern districts of Bangladesh. Stray elephants from India inadvertently entered Bangladesh by breaking the barbed-wire fences or crossing rivers.

Elephants cross the border and enter the localities of Bangladesh every year, seeking food as they have lost their natural habitats. They frequently lock into clashes with humans and damage crop fields.

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