WildTeam’s efforts in tiger conservation include empowering more than 350 village volunteers around the forest edge to save human, livestock, and tiger lives through the Village Tiger Response Teams.
WildTeam, founded in 2003 by a group of Bangladeshi nature lovers, has been chosen as the lead partner for USAID’s Bengal Tiger Conservation Activity, which will be known as USAID’s Bagh Project. The project’s objective is to conserve Bangladesh’s rich biodiversity through protection of wildlife, especifically the Royal Bengal Tiger. The Smithsonian Institution and Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies will partner with WildTeam to implement the project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development. The project will start in early 2014, said a media release on Tuesday, reports UNB. Through USAID’s Bagh Project, approximately $13 million will be channeled towards tiger conservation. In its four-year duration, the Bagh project aims to build a brighter future for wild tigers and the local communities who rely upon their forest home – the Sundarbans. The project will do this by expanding the knowledge base for wildlife conservation; reducing illegal wildlife trafficking; minimizing human-wildlife conflict; enhancing communications, outreach, and gender engagement; and improving livelihoods for conservation. By building the capacity of Bangladeshi organisations, the Bagh project will also unlock the incredible talent and energy that the Bangladeshi people have to offer to support the country in facing its large-scale environmental and development challenges. Multiple stakeholders including the Government of Bangladesh, local communities, NGOs, international organizations, and the private sector will be directly involved in order to achieve the project goals. Dr M Anwarul Islam, WildTeam’s CEO and a Professor of Zoology at the University of Dhaka, said: “USAID’s Bagh Project is the biggest project to date dedicated solely towards the protection of the majestic Royal Bengal tigers. “WildTeam is honoured to have this wonderful opportunity to build upon our existing tiger conservation activities through USAID’s Bagh Project,” he added. Since 2008, WildTeam, formerly known as the Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh, has worked predominantly in the Sundarbans mangrove forest ecosystem, home to the Royal Bengal Tiger. Along with the Bangladesh Forest Department, WildTeam developed the Bangladesh Tiger Action Plan (2009-2017), providing a guideline for tiger conservation efforts in Bangladesh. The WildTeam efforts in tiger conservation include empowering more than 350 village volunteers around the forest edge to save human, livestock, and tiger lives through the Village Tiger Response Teams (VTRTs). Since 1971, the American people through USAID have provided more than $6 billion in many assistance projects that support Bangladesh’s health and education, democratic institutions, social sector, economic growth, food security, and disaster management.