Brands and Companies Engaged to Save the Bengal Tigers

Brands and Companies Engaged to Save the Bengal Tigers

October 19, 2015

Bengal Tiger is our national pride; it is a part of our rich heritage and symbolizes the courage and indomitable spirit of Bengalis as a nation. However, the tiger that everyone is afraid of has lost its dominance. This region that used to be the home of numerous tigers, now only accommodates around one-hundred of them; primarily in the Sundarbans Mangrove Forest. It is high time this endangered species received special attention.

The UniteIMG_4921d States Agency for International Development (USAID) has taken this matter under serious consideration. For the very first time the conservation of a single species have been undertaken in Bangladesh under the name The USAID’s Bagh Activity and has allocated $12 million USD for conservation purposes. USAID has joined hands with the Government of Bangladesh and the initiative is being implemented by WildTeam with the leadership of Bangladesh Forest Department. Smithsonian Institution (SI) and Bangladesh Center for Advanced Studies (BCAS) are providing technical support to the initiative.

On the 17th of October, a workshop was jointly conducted by WildTeam and Bangladesh Brand Forum which attempted to engage brands and companies in Tiger Conservation in Bangladesh. The prime motive of this event was to raise awareness among leading brands and significant stakeholders so that a joint initiative can be implemented. The event took place at the Lakeshore Hotel in Gulshan-2 and was participated by representatives from ACI, Aarong, Robi, WebAble Digital, Banglalink, Prothom-Alo and many more.

The event started at around 10 am and was hosted by Md. Nasir Uddin, Communication Specialist of USAID’s Bagh Activity. He started off with a short speech about the whole workshop and called upon the speakers to take the floor.

Welcome Speech

The welcomeIMG_4962 speech was presented by two speakers. Shariful Islam, Founder & Editor of Bangladesh Brand Forum took the stage first and expressed how important Bengal Tiger is to our national identity. He also said that through this workshop session, brands and companies would understand why and how they should come forward to join this noble cause.
Next, Prof. M Harunur Rashid, Chairman, WildTeam began his welcome speech by quoting William Blake, “Tiger, tiger, burning bright, In the forests of the night.” Time and again in his speech, he highlighted how with the help of the Government, public, civil society, media, brands and companies the whole initiative can be an extraordinary success.

Tiger Conservation in Bangladesh and WildTeam’s Efforts

Prof. Dr. Md. Anwarul Islam, CEO, WildTeam& Chairman, Department of Zoology, University of Dhaka conducted this part of the session. He started off talking a bit about WildTeam and their engagements. WildTeam has been active since 2003 as a local non-profit organization. They work for the conservation of endangered species and also for the conservation of the Sundarbans. Primarily they have been working for the conservation of tigers under USAID’s Bagh Acitivty. Prof. Anwarul further added that they have chosen tiger as an ‘Umbrella Species’ and through its conservation it would be possible to take care of other animals residing in the Sundarbans like the Chitra deer and the sweet water crocodile.

IMG_5000USAID’s Bagh Activity Overview

Kathy J. Wachala, Deputy Chief of Party (acting), USAID’s Bagh Activity presented an overview of this whole initiative. She talked about the components of the Bagh Activity- expanding knowledge base, reduction of illegal wildlife trafficking, minimizing human wildlife conflict, enhancing communication, outreach and gender engagement, and lastly, improving livelihood for conservation.

Conservation and Brand Marketing in Bangladesh

Shariful Islam again took the stage and conducted this part of the session. He focused on how organisations can go beyond corporate social responsibility (CSR) and get involved in cause marketing. He showed the audience commercials of special CSR activities done by leading global conglomerates like the Coca-Cola Polar Bear Campaign and P&G’s Rehabilitation campaign.

National Awareness Campaign for Tiger Conservation

Md. Nasir Uddin shared with the audience the plans for a National Awareness Campaign scheduled to be held on November 12-14. He proposed what could be done to make the campaign a sheer success. Among the proposals, ‘Tiger Roar’- where all the people will roar like a tiger at a particular time and date, was a brilliant and distinct idea.

Open ForumIMG_4925

The ending was more of a brainstorming session where participants presented their ideas and thoughts.  Monsurul Aziz, Brand & Market Communications, Robi said, “Tiger is not as strong as it used to be. Tiger today is a very meagre thing and it needs help and this message should be communicated.” MdAbdurRouf, Chief Operating Officer, Aarong said, “Poachers involve in illegal activities to earn a livelihood. It is the NGO’s duty to talk them out of it and guide them toward other paths.” 

Vote of Thanks

At the very end, Kathy J. Wachala thanked all the participants for taking part in the workshop session and urged them to take an active part in the Bagh Activity.

By Ahmed Mosabbir Chowdhury

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