31 SPECIES go EXTINCT | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 23, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:29 AM, June 23, 2016


Once thought to be extinct in Bangladesh, Gaur, a species of wild bison of the Chittagong Hill Tracts region, and Hog deer have been spotted recently.

A new study, however, says they are on the verge of extinction.

The official status of the two species is “critically endangered” and could be extinct if adequate conservation measures are not taken, experts say.

The Department of Forest (DoF) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) conducted a joint study on wild animals in Bangladesh between 2013 and 2015. The findings of the study, called the Red list 2015, were released yesterday.

According to the study, a total of 31 species -- 11 animals, 19 birds and one reptile -- have become extinct in the country.

The first red list, published in 2000, recorded 13 species, including Gaur and Hog deer, as extinct. In the 2015 survey, 14 new species, including five butterflies and five rats, are recorded.

The latest update of the IUCN red list has enlisted a total of 1,691 species of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, crustacean, fish and butterfly. Of them, 390 are threatened species. Of the 390 species, 56 are categorised as critically endangered, 181 as endangered and 153 as vulnerable.

“The new red data list has opened an opportunity for the conservation of endangered wildlife in the coming years,” said Mohammad Ali Reza Khan, chief national technical adviser of Updating Species Red List of Bangladesh.

He said the government must take stronger legislative efforts to prevent wildlife trafficking and trading in the country.

In the presentation, it was said that 11 mammals -- One-horned Rhinoceros, Javan Rhinoceros, Asiatic two-horned Rhinoceros, Banteng, Wild Buffalo, Nilgai, Swamp Deer, Blackbuck, Wolf, Sloth Beer or Honey beer and Striped Hyena -- have become extinct in Bangladesh over the years.

Bird species that have become extinct are: Pink-headed Duck, Common Peafowl, Sarus Crane, Rufous-throated Partridge, Green Peafowl, Grey francolin, Swamp francolin, White-winged duck, Bengal florican, Lesser florican, Greater adjutant, White-bellied heron, Spot-billed pelican, Red-headed vulture, Rusty-fronted barwing, Black-breasted parrotbill, Spot-breasted parrotbill, Greater rufous-headed parrotbill and Bar-tailed treecreeper.

Marsh crocodile is the only reptile species to become extinct in the country, the new red list reveals.

Of 390 threatened species, 56 are endangered. Of them, 17 species are of mammals, 10 of birds, 17 of reptiles, two of amphibians, nine of freshwater fishes and one of butterflies.

“A certain species is called extinct if it is not seen in the wild for 50 years. This way, we have identified 19 bird species which we think are extinct in the country,” Enam Ul Haque, who led the bird assessor group in the red list, told The Daily Star.

Kamal Uddin Ahmed, secretary of the environment and forest ministry, disclosed the summary results of the red list.

Chief Conservator of Forests Yunus Ali and IUCN country representative Ishtiaq Uddin Ahmad, among others, spoke on the occasion.

As part of the Bangladesh forest department's project titled “Strengthening Regional Cooperation for Wildlife Protection (SRCWP) funded by the World Bank, IUCN Bangladesh implemented the project from 2013 to 2016.

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