India and Bangladesh agree to facilitate jumbos movement via Meghalaya

Shillong, July 27: India and Bangladesh have agreed to facilitate smooth movement of elephants from Meghalaya to the neighboring country, and identified around 12 corridors in Meghalaya and one in Assam for movement of elephants during migration season.

The two countries took this decision during the 2nd Indo-Bangladesh dialogue on trans-boundary elephant conservation held at the State Convention Centre, Shillong on Thursday.

The Indian delegation was led by Director General (forest), Siddhanta Das, who is also the Special Secretary to the Union ministry of environment and forest and climate change and the Bangladeshi delegation was led by Md Shafiul Alam Chowdhury

Das told reporters that officials of both the countries have adopted “agreed points of action” which will be finalized before going the third dialogue to be held in Bangladesh in June, 2018.

“Both the countries discussed how to ensure long term conservation and natural migration of elephants along the India-Bangladesh landscape with minimum danger and loss to human life and property,” Das said.

Das also said that a Joint Working Group would be constituted within 60 days to evolve and develop protocols and standard operating procedures for trans-boundary conservation and management of elephants in India-Bangladesh landscape.

Das said that the other “agreed points of action” include periodical update and sharing of location and critical period for trans-boundary migration of elephants on real time basis across the India-Bangladesh border, facilitate the process of trans-boundary natural migration through appropriate openings of gates and mechanisms at local level, monitor and detect the presence and movement of elephants on identified migratory corridors across by installing mutually agreed technologically assisted aids/devices during migration, establish response teams and deploy squads to guide such elephants which have strayed into human settlements and fields towards their natural habitat.

The dialogue also stressed on sharing of information through authorized officials on the presence and movement of elephants in the border areas, constitute a Joint Coordination Group at the district level across the international border, empower district authorities of both the countries to permit trans-boundary movement of elephant rescue teams, discourage and regulate erection of electric fences for protection of agriculture and
horticulture crops in areas falling in identified migratory corridors to prevent death of
elephants from electrocution.

The Northeast is a home to more than 9,000 wild elephants, of which nearly 1,800 are found in Meghalaya. It was estimated that Bangladesh has a total of around 200 wild elephants.

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