12 more deer found dead in Sundarbans after Cyclone Remal

The Report Desk

Published: June 1, 2024, 03:56 PM

12 more deer found dead in Sundarbans after Cyclone Remal

File photo (collected)

The death toll of deer in the Sundarbans soared to 127 after 12 more carcasses have been found after they were carried away by the tidal surge caused by Cyclone Remal. 

Confirming the update on Friday night, Mihir Kumar Doe, forest conservator of the Khulna region, said that most of the bodies of these wild animals were found floating in the rivers and canals in the Katka, Kachikhali, Dubla, Nilkamal, Alorkol, Dim Char, Pokhirchar, Gyanpara, and Shelar Char in the Sharankhola range of the Sundarban East region.

Four pigs have also been found dead in the forest.

Apart from this, 18 deer and a python with injuries were rescued. Forest Department officials gave them first aid before releasing them into the forest.

Officials fear the death toll among the forest’s animals may increase.

Forest official Doe says there has been substantial damage in the Sundarbans, particularly to wildlife, due to the flooding caused by Remal. There is also fear of long-term damage due to salt water trapped in the forest by the tidal surge.

Since Tuesday the Forest Department has been searching the Sundarbans and recovering dead deer every day. The bodies of the deer found in different areas of the forest on Friday had started to decompose.

Officials say that the Sundarbans are facing an ‍‍`unusual‍‍` situation due to Cyclone Remal. A part of the forest is inundated with water twice over 24 hours during low tide and twice during high tide.

But the water in the forest before the cyclone hit did not recede for 36 hours. This means the entire forest was underwater for an extended time. The tidal surge rose up to 10 feet above the normal level and was even higher in some areas.

Forest officials fear huge losses among the wildlife in the Sundarbans due to the extended period of the tide.

Massive infrastructure, trees and ponds were damaged primarily worth about Taka 6.27 crore, Mihir said.

With a view to protecting the wildlife and biodiversity of the Sundarbans, the Forest Department on Friday announced a ban on entry of visitors to the forest for three months starting Saturday.

Grim estimate from the past

According to the information provided by the Forest Department, the dead bodies of 40 deer, one tiger and one whale were found in the Sundarbans after Cyclone Sidr in 2007. After Cyclone Aila in 2009, the bodies of three deer and one pig were recovered. In the storms from 2013 to 2019, tigers, deer and other wild animals were not harmed. However, four deer were found dead after Cyclone Yaas in 2021.

The Forest Department says that 1,874.1 square km of the 6,017 square km of the Sundarbans on the Bangladesh side of the border, or 31.15 percent, consists of riverbeds, inlets, canals, and other water bodies.

Approximately 289 species of terrestrial animals live in the Sundarbans. There are about 42 species of mammals, 35 species of reptiles, eight species of amphibians, and 219 species of aquatic animals including various species of fish.

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