Protect Sangu reserve forest from destruction
As is happening with many of our reserve forests, the Sangu reserve forest in Bandarban's Thanchi upazila is also being plundered by unscrupulous timber merchants and forest department officials in collaboration with local powerful people. According to our report, a vast number of century-old trees have been cut down by loggers at the remote reserve forest and wildlife sanctuary in the last two months. Satellite images show that about a hundred acres of it have been totally razed over the last few years. Speaking to locals, our reporter has found that trees from Andarmanik, Dungdung Para, Milinga Para, Mronggong Para, Narisha Jiri, Boromodok Jiri, and Singapa Mouza Jiri areas of the reserve forest are being felled indiscriminately by the loggers.
Unfortunately, such mindless plundering of the forest has not only been done by greedy, influential timber traders and local influential people, some forest department officials are also involved, as locals have alleged. While the forest department officials claim that they cannot take action against the plunderers or remain vigilant in the reserve forest because of a "shortage of manpower", the timber merchants, on the other hand, allege that in most cases, forest department officials directly or indirectly assist loggers in smuggling timber from the reserve forests in exchange for hefty bribes.
Understandably, it is not possible for the loggers to erase such large parts of the forest without the knowledge of the forest department officials or the law enforcers. Why then has no action been taken against the unscrupulous timber traders?
Sangu reserve forest was declared a protected forest in 1880. The forest is home to 36 species of mammals, 48 species of reptiles, 19 species of amphibians, and 11 species of rare birds. There are also many rare species of old trees in the forest including Gamar, Garjan, Chapalish, Toon, Goda, Gutgutya, Champa, Civit, and Shimul. This unique forest must be protected from human greed at all costs. We have already lost many of our forests, we just cannot afford to lose any more. We urge the government to seriously look into the matter and take action against those responsible for plundering the forest. The government should also consider forming a separate wildlife department to conserve the remaining forests of the country, as experts have suggested.