Wildlife, flora and attractions in Teknaf Game Reserve, Bangladesh
Located on the banks of the Naf River in the Teknaf Upazila of 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. Elephants, which were at one time plentiful, still inhabit the area in limited numbers. Teknaf Game Reserve is also home to a host of other mammals, as well as reptiles and amphibians, both forest-dwelling and wetland species, while a sizeable number of the extensive bird species of Bangladesh are found in the reserve.
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. These eco-tour guides are trained to assist visitors to get the greatest possible benefit out of their visit to the 11,500 hectare Teknaf Game Reserve, with a similar service offered at the other four Nishorgo protected areas, namely Satchari National Park, Rema Kalenga Wildlife Sanctuary, Lawarchara National Park and Chunati Willife Sanctuary.
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.