It is high time steps be taken to protect natural habitats of wild Asian elephants in the country in addition to measures that would put an end to poaching, environmentalists have said.
They demanded that the government conserve natural water reservoirs and establish an adequate food chain and sanctuaries inside deep forests for the protection of wild elephants.
The demand came at a human chain and mass mobilisation program titled "United movement for protection of life and nature for conservation of endangered wild elephants" held in front of the Chattogram Press Club on Saturday.
Save the Nature of Bangladesh, Bengal Discover, Society of Rise for Paws and Claws and 1/24 Social Movement organised the event.
The participants at the programme urged the authorities concerned to take immediate steps to stop poaching wild elephants in Chattogram and Cox's Bazar and to mete out an exemplary punishment to poachers.
During the human chain, the environmental activists held out a report, saying that 22 wild Asian elephants have died in the country this year, of which 4 died in December alone.
They alleged that most of these elephants were killed deliberately.
ANM Moazzem Hossain, central president of Save the Nature of Bangladesh, said: "Development cannot be done by destroying ecosystem. That is why we must conserve our wild elephants."
"As long as wildlife present in our forests are safe and protected, our ecological balance will remain intact," he added.
At the same time, he urged the authorities to properly implement the Wildlife Conservation Act.
Mohammad Shahabuddin, associate professor, Department of Management, Chittagong University, said: "If this elephant killing spree continues in Bangladesh, there is a danger that the animal will soon become extinct."
"Therefore, it is necessary to take proper measures for the conservation of elephants as it is a very important issue."
"Elephant conservation initiatives which have already been undertaken need to be reviewed objectively and the conservation activities need to be streamlined so that elephant conservation will be possible more effectively in the days to come," he added.