Rohingya refugee crisis and human vs. elephant (Elephas maximus) conflicts in Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh
Keywords:Elephas maximus, habitat loss, human-elephant conflicts, Rohingya refugee
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.
Aidan, J., Redwan, A. 2018. Smiles and slapstick as Rohingya refugees learn to corral elephants. Agence France-Presse (AFP), published on 8 April 2018. Accessed on 12 July 2018.
Campos-Arceiz, A., Steve Blake, S. 2011. Megagardeners of the forest - the role of elephants in seed dispersal. Acta Oecologia 37(6):542-553.
Choudhury, A. 2007. Impact of border fence along India-Bangladesh border on elephant movement. Gajah 26:27-30.
Enukwa E.H. 2017. Human-Elephant conflict mitigation methods: A review of effectiveness and sustainability. Journal of Wildlife and Biodiversity 1(2):69-78.
Hassan, M.M., Smith, A.C., Walker, K., Rahman, M.K., Southworth, J. 2018. Rohingya refugee crisis and forest cover change in Teknaf, Bangladesh. Remote Sensing 10: 689.
Human Rights Watch. 2018. Bangladesh is not my country: The plight of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. New York, United States of America.
Hussain, A. 2017. Elephants vs humans: The threat to Bangladesh’s natural habitats as Rohingya influx continues. DhakaTribune, published on 16 October, 2017. Accessed on 7 July 2018.
Imtiaz, S. 2018. Ecological impact of Rohingya refugees on forest resources: Remote sensing analysis of vegetation cover change in Teknaf Peninsula in Bangladesh. Ecocycles 4(1):16-19.
Inter Sector Coordination Group. 2018a. Situation report data summary: Rohingya refugee crisis, Cox’s Bazar. 25 February 2018. Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Inter Sector Coordination Group. 2018b. Situation report data summary: Rohingya refugee crisis, Cox’s Bazar. 16 August 2018 (covering 31st July - 13th August). Dhaka, Bangladesh.
International Organization for Migration. 2017a. NPM R6 report: Needs and population monitoring, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. October 2017. Dhaka, Bangladesh.
International Organization for Migration. 2017b. NPM R7 report: Needs and population monitoring, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. December 2017. Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Islam, M.A., Mohsanin, S., Chowdhury, G.W., Chowdhury, S.U., Aziz, M.A., Uddin, M., Saif, S., Chakma, S., Akter, R., Jahan, I., Azam, I. 2011. Current status of Asian elephants in Bangladesh. Gajah 35:21-24.
IUCN Bangladesh. 2016. Status of Asian elephants in Bangladesh. International Union for Conservation of Nature, Bangladesh Country Office, Dhaka.
IUCN Bangladesh. 2018. Survey report on elephant movement, human-elephant conflict situation, and possible intervention sites in and around Kutupalong Camp, Cox’s Bazar. International Union for Conservation of Nature, Bangladesh Country Office, Dhaka.
Joint Response Plan (JRP). 2018. JRP for Rohingya humanitarian crisis. March-December 2018. Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Khan, A. 2015. Elephas maximus, in: Red List of Bangladesh, Volume 2: Mammals. International Union for Conservation of Nature, Bangladesh Country Office, Dhaka.
McVeigh, K., Peri, D. 2018. Fatal elephant attacks on Rohingya refugees push Bangladesh to act. The Guardian, published on 9 May 2018. Accessed on 7 July 2018.
Motaleb, M.A., Ahmed, M.S., Islam, H., Haque, M.A. 2016. Atlas: Elephant routes and corridors in Bangladesh. International Union for Conservation of Nature, Bangladesh Country Office, Dhaka.
news24.com. 2018. Elephants kill 10 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh: UN. Published on March 7, 2018. Accessed on 8 July 2018.
Rahman, M.H., Alam, K. 2016. Forest dependent indigenous communities’ perception and adaptation to climate change through local knowledge in the protected area ─ A Bangladesh case study. Climate 4:12.
Sukumar, R. 2006. A Brief review of the status, distribution and biology of wild Asian elephants. International Zoo Yearbook 40(1):1-8.
Thekaekara, T. 2017. Can elephants and humans live together? The Guardian, published on 6 Mar 2017. Accessed on 8 July 2018.
UNDP Bangladesh and UN WOMEN Bangladesh. 2018. Report on environmental impact of Rohingya inﬂux. Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Wahed, M.A., Ullah, M.R., Irfanullah, H.M. 2016. Human-elephant conflict mitigation measures: Lessons from Bangladesh. International Union for Conservation of Nature, Bangladesh Country Office, Dhaka.
World Food Programme. 2018. Refugee influx emergency vulnerability assessment (REVA) – Technical Report. Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
How to Cite
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.