Thursday, March 21, 2013



Teknaf Game Reserve, as a part of Teknaf peninsula, is located in the country’s far south-eastern corner, near to Myanmar border. It was established in 1983 over a reserved forest (RF) area of 11,610 ha covering 10 forest blocks in three Forest Ranges (Whykong, Silkhali and Teknaf) of Cox’s Bazar (South) Forest Division. It is situated in Ukhia and Teknaf Upzilas of Cox’s Bazar District, and lies in between the Naf river on eastern side and Bay of Bengal on western side. The GR is part of a linear hill range (reaching an altitude of 700m), gently slopping to rugged hills and cliffs running down the central part of the peninsula, with a north-south length of nearly 28 km and an east-west width of 3-5 km. A number of deep gullies and narrow valleys are crossed by numerous streams flowing down to Naf river in east and Bay of Bengal in west. Most of the streams are seasonal and dry up during off-monsoon season. The northern boundary of the GR starts near Whykong town (which is nearly 50 km from Cox’s Bazar), extending in south up to Teknaf town. A metalled road connecting Cox’s Bazar with Teknaf town runs in between the Naf river and eastern boundary of the GR, and is a major transport corridor for forest products.

The Reserve has long been known for its elephants and was indeed established for their protection. Elephants are still widely distributed in the area, and although numbers very likely have declined , the Reserve and adjacent parts of the Teknaf Peninsula still support an important population. These elephants are part of a larger population scattered over the Chittagong Hill Tracts and down through the Teknaf Peninsula, and contiguous with populations in adjacent parts of India and Mynmar. Teknaf Game Reserve is one of five protected areas in Bangladesh where the Forest Department has put into place a co-management approach to eco-tourism under the banner of “Nishorgo – Bangladesh’s Protected Area Management Program”.

A highlight of the Teknaf Game Reserve is the Kudum Cave, more commonly referred to as the “Bat Cave” – for obvious reasons. But the two species of bats, of which there a multitude, are not the only cave dwellers. Kudum Cave is also home to four species of snails, four species of fish dwelling in the underwater pools and three species of spiders, while  birds in the area have been seen entering the cave to feed on the snails. As the only known remaining sand-mud cave in Bangladesh, conservationists are keen to preserve it as an eco-tourism attraction.

The abundant plant-life in the reserve includes a number of medicinal plants that are used by the local communities, as well as a variety of bamboos, canes and grasses.The Mochoni Nature Park is incorporated into the boundaries of the Teknaf Game Reserve, and from the hilltop of the nature park, visitors have a spectacular view of the Bay of Bengal, as well as Myanmar. There is also a new nature interpretation center at Mochoni Nature Park, which is open to the public and is used as part of the training program for eco-tour guides under the Nishorgo initiative.

Visitors can also choose from a range of hiking trails of differing lengths and levels of difficulty whereby, with the aid of an eco-tour guide, they can truly get close to nature and enjoy the bio-diversity of the Teknaf Game Reserve, knowing that great effort is being put into conserving this beautiful part of Bangladesh for future visitors to enjoy.

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