Animals are a precious gift from God on this planet. The word 'animal' refers not only to animals, but also to all living things, including birds, insects, plants, fungi, and even tiny animals. Animals are very important for maintaining a healthy ecological balance in this world. Each animal has a unique place in the food chain, which makes a significant contribution to ecosystem control. But now many animals and birds are endangered.
People are cutting down trees and deforestation is going on to develop human settlements and cultivate their land. This is destroying the natural habitat of wildlife. Wildlife is also being hunted for the meat and skin of animals, which is one of the reasons for the extinction of many animals from the earth. “World Animal Day” is observed on October 4 every year to preserve the existence of animals and birds on earth.
Our Bangladesh is home to many species of animals, birds and wildlife. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN-2000), the country has about 22 species of amphibians, 109 species of reptiles, 388 species of birds and 110 species of mammals. These animals live in different parts of the country. Wildlife benefits us a lot. There are some wildl animals in this country which benefit the environment and us in different ways. Some of these animals-Dog: Dogs help humans by sniffing out contraband, explosives and even diseases, and now they're also working to help protect the environment. By tracking animal fecal matter, or scat, dogs are helping scientists understand problems facing endangered species, furthering conservation efforts. In the past, municipalities and city corporations used to kill dogs by beating them in primitive brutality. In 2012, the high court ruled that the indiscriminate killing of dogs was inhumane. As an alternative, the government announced to control the number of dogs by neutering them. Article 7 of the Animal Welfare Act of 2019 states that no animal without an owner can be killed or removed. In mid-August, Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) declared to start a programme of relocating the 30,000 stray dogs of the city to other districts. Environmentalists and dog lovers have expressed grave concern over the ongoing relocation of stray dogs from Dhaka South City Corporation.
Earthworms: Earthworms usually live in holes in the upper layer of soft and wet soil. They mainly eat rotten leaves, insect eggs, larvae, dead insect carcasses and various organic matter mixed with soil. The earthworm digs up the soil and releases chemicals along with the feces to make ‘earthworm compost’. Since this fertilizer is environmentally friendly and low in price, its use is very positive for the environment.
Frogs: Frogs are very important in maintaining the balance of the environment. Frogs increase crop yields by eating harmful insects. Frogs are medium-sized animals in the food chain. Frogs are controlling these diseases by eating hundreds of disease-carrying insects or pathogens such as dengue, gout, cholera, typhoid, anthrax and malaria. Frogs are also able to predict earthquakes. There are about 63 species of frogs in Bangladesh.
Sparrows: Sparrows mainly eat innumerable insects. Especially insect larvae, moths or leafhoppers, which disrupt grain production. Sparrows are helping to increase the productivity of the crop by protecting it from harmful pests.
Vultures: Vultures have a special identity. It is called the cleaner of nature. The vultures protect us from diseases and germs by eating various types of rotten dirt and garbage. They are not birds of prey, they eat only dead animals. Day by day this beneficial bird is becoming extinct due to human unconsciousness and negligence.
Wasp: Wasp is also called Vimrul. They destroy the eggs of harmful moths. The wasp lays its eggs in the larvae of other insects and the wasp insects born from those eggs grow up eating the larvae of other insects. Wasps help in controlling agricultural insects.
Bee: Bee is a known beneficial insect. They are basically small and hardworking. We get beeswax and honey from bees. Bees are cultivated in boxes for honey production, which contributes to our economic development. In addition to wax and candles, honey is used in making various medicines and cosmetics such as snow, cold cream, saving cream. Bee pollen increases the yield and quality of agricultural and forest plants through pollination and plays an important role in conserving biodiversity.
Currently, wildlife habitats are being destroyed due to excessive extraction of natural resources, hunting of wildlife, lack of adequate conservation, cyclones and the effects of climate change, resulting in the extinction of many wildlife. According to the Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh, about half of the 1,600 species of vertebrates are threatened by habitat destruction. Rhinos, Nilgai, Striped Hyenas, Wild Buffaloes, Peacocks, Hargilas, Water Crocodiles, Water Deer etc. are now extinct animals in Bangladesh. Also the wild animals like Royal Bengal Tiger, Elephant, Otter, Lamchita, Leopard, Cheetah, Banrui, Banaguru, Dora Squirrel, Sambar Deer, Black Bear etc. are now endangered. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), if the conservation system is not improved, 30 to 40 percent of the total wildlife species could be extinct in the next decade.
According to Schedule 4 of Chapter IX of the Wildlife (Conservation and Protection) Act, 2012, ‘any wildlife, any part of wildlife, meat, trophies or derivatives or wildlife products from anyone other than a person licensed or permitted…..Purchasing, selling or importing or exporting the said animals or plant or its derivatives, he shall be deemed to have committed an offense and shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to a fine not exceeding Rs. 50,000 or both and if repeated the same offense, he will be sentenced to imprisonment for a maximum of three years or a penalty of up to Tk 2 lakh or both.
Proper enforcement and awareness of the law is needed to protect wildlife. Everyone needs to be aware of the needs of wildlife. Wildlife traffickers must be identified and punished. This will discourage others from doing this. Everyone has to work to protect the wildlife from their own place. We need to preserve the habitats and create a conducive environment for wildlife to live in the sanctuaries.
Professor Dr. Ahmad Kamruzzaman Majumder, Dean, Faculty of Science, Chairman, Department of Environmental Science, Stamford University Bangladesh, Founder and Director, Center for Atmospheric Pollution Studies (CAPS) & Joint Secretary, Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org