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A day for the tigers
Posted on August 11, 2010
In July we at Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh (WTB) came to know that the 29th of the same month had been declared as the Global Tiger Day by the Global Tiger Initiative (GTI) and all tiger ranging countries would celebrate this day as a step to increase awareness to support tiger conservation.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and the Forest Department (FD) were together making preparations for the day and they asked us (meaning WTB) to get involved.
However, we were a bit doubtful at first as to how to get involved as some of our team members were already in the field and the rest were preparing to leave for their field work. Soon it turned out that our field work got delayed and we could get ample time to make a banner, a wall paper and some festoons for the Tiger Day celebration.
In due time, an invitation card of the FD arrived at our office inviting us to join the programmes they had organized – a rally, a discussion session and a photography exhibition.
On the morning of the 29th July the FD staffs were distributing white T shirts and caps with tiger emblems and the slogan “Save endangered tigers, save Sundarbans” printed on them to a huge crowd of around 500 people in the National Museum premises. From WTB we also gave about 500 pieces of caps to the FD for distribution.
The State Minister of MoEF, Dr.Hasan Mahmud himself was there to take part in the rally. Besides school, college and university students, the FD staff, other honourable participants included Dr. Mihir Kanti Majumder, Secretary of MoEF, Mr. Md.Abdul Mutaleb, Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF), Mr. Ishitiaq Uddin Ahmad, Deputy Chief Conservator of Forests (DCCF), Mr. Enayetullah Khan and Prof. Md. Anwarul Islam, Chairman and CEO of WTB respectively. Our team was also ready with its banner. Fortunately the day was cloudy and we were spared from the heat. Walking past a few roads and drawing the attention of the curious public we arrived at our destination – the National Press Club where the rest of the programmes would follow.
Our CEO, Prof. Md. Anwarul Islam in his key note speech provided us with an overall background of tiger conservation issues in Bangladesh that includes the current tiger population worldwide, threats to our country’s tigers, challenges and the conservation measures taken so far by the government to eliminate those threats.
Stressing the significance to save tigers, he added, “Even those villagers, who live near the Sundarbans and are most prone to tiger attacks, don’t want tigers to become extinct. Many of their family members were killed by tigers but even then they too admit that the Sundarbans still exists only because tigers are alive– these tigers are the guardians to safeguard the forest otherwise the forest would have disappeared long ago.”
The State Minister’s speech gave an important philosophy behind wildlife conservation, “As humans we should understand that we are not the only inhabitants of this earth, neither do we alone own this earth. This earth belongs to many other creatures.Therefore it is our duty to ensure the survival of other animals too.”
In addition to this, he also shed light on the different policy and management level changes that the government is undertaking to conserve the country’s wildlife.
Other reputed speakers were Dr. Mihir Kanti Majumder, Secretary of MoEF, Mr. Md. Abdul Mutaleb, Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF), Mr. Ishitiaq Uddin Ahmed, Deputy Chief Conservator of Forests (DCCF), Professor Emeritus Dr. Kazi Zakir Husain and Mr. Enayetullah Khan, Chairman, WTB.
The photography exhibition displayed photos of the Sundarbans’ wildlife – spotted deer, Bengal tigers, otters, estuarine crocodiles etc. Simultaneously the FD and WTB had also arranged another rally and discussion session in Khulna and Satkhira districts. Though we, that is those based in Dhaka, could not participate in those programmes we could at least see photos of the events held in these two towns.
A small rally started from the Khulna Circuit House and arrived at the District Commissioner conference hall where the discussion session began at around 9:30 am. There, among other participants, Dr Monowar Islam, Director General of the Directorate of Environment, Mr. Suprio Chakma from WTB, Mr. Akbar Hossain, Conservator of Forest (Khulna Circle), Divisional Forest Officers Mr. Md. Jahiruddin Ahmed, Mr. Mihir Kumar Dey, Mr. A.N.M. Yasin Newaz and Mr. Jahiruddin Akand were also present.
Members of WTB’s Forest Tiger Response Team and Village Tiger Response Teams, wearing their orange coloured professional vests, marched together in a rally from Munshiganj in Satkhira. The FD arranged a discussion session in the head office of Sushilon, a local NGO. Mr. Md. Abdus Samad, the Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Satkhira spoke as the chief guest while other guests included Mr. Ashim Joarder, UP Chairman of Burigoalini, Mr. Towfiqul Islam, Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF), Mr. Shahin Hossain, coordinator of the NGO, BARCIK and Mr. Modinul Ahsan, participatory management coordinator of WTB. All these events were well covered by local and national electronic and print media.