The rediscovery of sun bears in Bangladesh heralds in new conservation opportunities for this majestic species
Golden cats stalk the shadows of Sangu Reserve Forest just as they had for millennia prior across all of Bangladesh
Witnessing the destruction of the forests is one of the most difficult aspects of conservation work
Elephants still roam in relative safety in the remote hills of the Chittagong Hill Tracts
Despite their size, Gaur are notoriously difficult to find in these forests
Preserving indigenous culture is often one of a conservationists best tools to preserve wildlife as well
Camera traps set up by our parabiologists are able to discover even the most elusive of species like this marbled cat
Forming close partnerships with village elders allows us to form conservation solutions that are mutually beneficial
Pristine forest tracts like this one are becoming increasingly difficult to find
These two oriental pied hornbills will fetch less than $100 at the market – all of which is used to purchase rice
Slash and burn agriculture or “jhum” is quickly destroying what’s left of these ancient forests
The misty forests of the CHT still hold secrets for our research team to discover
Chittagong Hill Tracts Program
The forests of southeast Bangladesh are confined to a region named the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), bordering India and Myanmar. Herein remains the last intact tropical mixed-evergreen forest of Bangladesh. It is our mission to protect these forests and the astounding biodiversity within, before the destructive forces of land development in these majestic hills.
Since 2011, we’ve worked closely with the local communities in the Sangu-Matamuhuri Reserve Forest, listening to their concerns and gaining their trust. We’re now positioned to affect real change in the region, but this is no small task! Change requires a multi-directional approach culminating in a holistic program engaging both local stakeholders and government agencies. Through a multi-dimensional approach we are determined to protect these ancient forests for the benefit of all parties - from mitigation of wildlife hunting and poaching in exchange for primary schools - to marketing traditional crafts - to reducing the ethnic communities dependency on the forest resources - to empowering the hunters into parabiologists - and petitioning the highest levels of government.
Traditional tribal crafts generate alternative income for Schools for Conservation, reduce dependency on forest resources, empower the women artisans, and help revive lost cultural practices. Proceeds from every craft purchase go directly to the local communities, empowering them to reduce dependency on forest resources. Our traditional ethnic crafts are currently being sold with the help of Bcraft at the Aranya boutique in Dhaka, Bangladesh and will soon be available in international markets.
Building and supporting primary schools in remote areas, for an amenable exchange of hunting moratoriums of over 26 globally-threatened species including elephants, turtles, pangolins, gaur, gibbons, and hornbills. Through this initiative, we can create sanctuaries for the incredible biodiversity within these forests, while bringing literacy to empower the local communities.
Parabiologists are one of the foundations of our organization. Local community members, with little to no formal education, are trained to carry out basic scientific tasks such as collecting morphometric data, GPS logging, and telemetry work. Not only do these citizen scientists act as “role models” in their community and as local ambassadors for conservation, but without these dedicated souls we wouldn’t have the manpower or the requisite traditional ecological knowledge of the study areas needed to conduct our research.