The government has no plan to conduct research on the 278 data deficient species of animal despite recommendations of biologists.
The 278 species were categorised as data deficient, which offered insufficient information for a proper assessment of conservation status to be made, during the update of the Red List of threatened species.
The update was made under a project titled ‘Updating Red List of Bangladesh’ jointly implemented by the Department of Forest and the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2013-16. The updated lists were published in June 2016.
Experts expressed concern over the delay and fear of the extinction of the data deficient species, 17 per cent of the 1619 species found in the country and assessed under the project, unless a comprehensive research was carried out soon and conservation actions were taken.
Project related experts said that adequate data could not be found on 56 per cent of crustaceans, 29 per cent of mammals, 16 per cent both reptiles and fresh water fishes, 12.2 per cent of amphibians and 10.4 per cent of butterflies.
Data could not be found on 39 species of the 138 mammals in the country as they were supposed to be in critical state, said biology professor Mohammad Mostafa Feeroz who led the team that evaluated the status of mammals.
Of the data deficient mammals, various bats, including long-winged bat and black beard tomb bat, marbled cat, small-toothed palm civet, stump-tailed macaque, Malayan pangolin, giant flying squirrel, sperm and tropical whales were supposed to be in critical state in their ecologies, he said.
The experts put 73 crustaceans, including torpedo shrimp, pink shrimp and striped prawn, on the list of data deficient species because of lack of their latest sightings.
Mustafa Ali Reza Hossain, the lead assessor for crustaceans, strongly recommended research on the species offering insufficient information.
Department of Forest officials, however, said that the department had no immediate plan to carry out research recommended by the experts.
‘The department might take research projects on the species before the next update of the red list likely to be done after 10 years,’ said Jahidul Kabir, conservator of forest at Wildlife and Nature Conservation Circle under the department.
World renowned wildlife expert and chief technical reviewer of updating species of red list Mohammad Reza Khan regretted that the authorities concerned were ignoring the importance of conserving animal species.
‘We recommended immediate study on the data deficient species as their sighting was not spotted during the assessment period, he said.
Reza said, ‘If there is no research and conservation for the species, many of them critically endangered or even extinct during the next update of the red list.’
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