Various poacher gangs are decimating the spotted deer population in Bhola's Monpura forest. The forest, spread out across 5,000 hectares of land, is supposed to be a safe haven for spotted dear. Unfortunately, locals tell us that these gangs are driven to poaching deer for its pelt and venison, which is prized as a delicacy and sells for anywhere between Tk 200 to Tk 400 per kilogram. The continued killing has had an adverse effect on the deer population, which is now estimated to have come down to about 3,500.
The Bangladesh Wildlife (Conservation and Security) Act, 2012 has provisions for up to three years' imprisonment or Tk 300,000 fine, or both, for killing deer and selling its meat. The sad reality is that without proper monitoring and enforcement of the Act to catch and punish poachers, the spotted deer will soon be on the endangered list of animals. Local influential people are also involved in diverting fresh water from the canal for commercial farming. This has created a water crisis for the local community, and could very well be driving deer from the deep forest closer to human habitats, and thus making them easy prey for poaching gangs who set up traps for the animals. This is a law and order situation and the authorities must act to protect this animal. More patrols by armed forest guards and the strict enforcement of the Act can effectively dissuade poachers from killing spotted deer in the protected forest.