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Court grants protection to critically endangered Asian elephants in Bangladesh

Court grants protection to critically endangered Asian elephants in Bangladesh

Court grants protection to critically endangered Asian elephants in Bangladesh

Court grants protection to critically endangered Asian elephants in Bangladesh

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  • Poaching and habitat loss have led to a significant decrease in elephant numbers in Bangladesh.
  • The previous scheme allowed logging groups and circus groups to take young elephants into captivity.
  • The court ruled that such exploitation violated the terms of the licenses.
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The High Court in Bangladesh has issued a court order banning the adoption of critically endangered wild elephants and protecting them from exploitation. Animal rights groups have welcomed the suspension of all licenses, preventing the capture and captivity of young Asian elephants. Some of the animals have been utilized for begging, circuses, or street shows.

There are now only about 200 elephants in Bangladesh, with about half of them living in captivity. Poaching and habitat loss have caused a marked decrease in their numbers, despite the country once being one of the major homes for the Asian elephant.

Under the previous scheme, logging groups were issued licenses by the forestry department, allowing them to take young elephants into captivity and utilize them for hauling logs. Circus groups also acquired some of the elephants. The court stated that such exploitation violated the terms of the licenses.

Rakibul Haque Emil, head of the animal rights group People for Animal Welfare (PAW) Foundation in Bangladesh, described it as a “landmark order”.

“In this name of training elephants, private licensees including circus parties brutally separate elephant calves from their mother, shackle them for months, and then torture them to teach tricks,” he said.

He expressed hope that captive elephants could now undergo rehabilitation.

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Actor Jaya Ahsan, who launched the legal case alongside PAW, expressed hope that it would mark the end of harsh “training” inflicted on the animals.

The issue gained attention last year when a train killed a young elephant after it had been used for begging on the streets. Captors often paint them in bright colors and force them to perform tricks.

In 2019, police rescued two emaciated elephants that had been used for roadside begging.

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