On Wednesday, two elephants were brought to safety after crossing from Myanmar to Bangladesh, ran aground on a beach, and nearly d.i.ed at sea.
The shrinking forests that stretch southern Bangladesh and western Myanmar are some of the last remaining habitats of the endangered Asian elephant.
One of their migration routes has been blocked since 2017 by refugee camps in Bangladesh, where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled a Myanmar military offensive.
Jahid Hossain, an elder in the village, said villagers had a “very bitter experience of crop loss and even life loss with these elephants as they can become very ag.gres.sive”.
Stranded on the beach for four days without food and already attracting thousands of onlookers, the elephants swam out to the Bay of Bengal in a panic on Tuesday.
The fishermen had to make a dramatic rescue with boats and ropes to bring them back to shore.
“The fishermen saved them from certain de.a.th at sea,” Regional Forestry Bureau chief Humayun Kabir told AFP.
On Wednesday, the pair were led inland, Kabir said.
Local residents tied ropes around the giant’s neck to coax them to safety.
Raquibul Amin, head of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), said it was the fourth incident since last year.
“We need a transboundary dialogue between Bangladesh and Myanmar to monitor the elephant herd and then come up with measures to reduce human-elephant conflict,” he added.