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USAID’s Bengal Tiger Conservation Activity (Bagh)

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has joined hands with the Government of Bangladesh to protect Sundarbans tigers through the Bengal Tiger Conservation Activity (Bagh). Under the leadership of the Bangladesh Forest Department, USAID’s Bagh Activity is being implemented by WildTeam, a Bangladeshi organization working for biodiversity conservation since 2003.  The Bagh Activity will also receive technical support from the Smithsonian Institution (SI) and the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS).  USAID’s Bagh Activity will continue from 2014 to 2018.

From spreading conservation awareness in communities living adjacent to the Sundarbans to increasing vigilance against wildlife crime, USAID’s Bagh Activity will unite people, institutions, and policymakers together in contributing to tiger conservation in five components:

Expanded knowledge base

USAID’s Bagh Activity supports priority research to inform management interventions for the targeted landscapes. The activity also develops tools and platforms for knowledge sharing, collaborative research, and learning.

Reduced illegal wildlife trafficking

In collaboration with national law enforcement agencies, USAID’s Bagh Activity supports the development of the national Wildlife Crime Control Unit, facilitates engagement with regional and international enforcement bodies, strengthens patrol efforts on the ground, and pilots models for community-based anti-poaching action.

Minimized human-wildlife conflict

USAID’s Bagh Activity is strengthening the Village Tiger Response Teams that was initiated in 2008 by Bangladesh Forest Department and WildTeam. The Bagh Activity will provide veterinary training for conflict tiger handling, establish a system for conflict prediction and monitoring, and promote safety skills inside the forest to minimize injury and fatalities to both tigers and humans as a result from conflict.

Enhanced communications, outreach and gender engagement

USAID’s Bagh Activity is building on and expanding the 'Mother-like Sundarbans' campaign initiated by WildTeam in the Sundarbans periphery area. National and global awareness raising campaigns are aimed at engaging audiences and building social and political will. To promote long term support, USAID’s Bagh Activity is creating a Wild Learning Center to serve as a platform to engage women, young people, and future conservation leaders.

Improved livelihoods for conservation

Promoting environmentally sustainable livelihood ideas in the Sundarbans region is imperative for conserving the forest. USAID’s Bagh Activity is launching a national competition to inspire innovative eco-friendly livelihood ideas for people who depend on the Sundarbans for food and income, and will potentially pilot selected outstanding ideas near the Sundarbans. The activity is also supporting the growth of eco-tourism in Bangladesh through supporting to develop an eco-tourism master plan for the Sundarbans.

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