Dhaka, Bangladesh - December 13th, 2012. The Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh (WTB) launched its new identity “WildTeam” at an event in Dhaka attended by government officials, ambassadors, civil society, academics, the media, environmental NGOs, and local people from the Sundarbans. The event was presided over by the chairman of WildTeam, Mr Enayetullah Khan. Dr Hasan Mahmud, MP, Honourable Minister of Environment and Forests, was present as the chief guest. Other guests of honour included Dr Russell Mittermeier (President of Conservation International), Mr Md. Yunus Ali (Chief Conservator of Forests), Mr Kihak Sun (Chairman of Youngone Corporation), Mr Svend Olling (Danish Ambassador), Ms Ragne Birte Lund (Norwegian Ambassador), Mr Dan Mozena, (American Ambassador), and Mr M. Vakur Erkul (Turkish Ambassador). Also at the launch were local villagers from the Sundarbans who have been working to save tigers when they stray into their communities and others who have helped save people’s lives who have been attacked by tigers.
The event started with a celebration of the nine years of work by the WTB in supporting the government to help conserve the wildlife of Bangladesh, noting the special contribution it has made to help wild animals such as Hoolock gibbon, elephant, bear, and tigers. The new name “WildTeam” and logo was then launched through presentations, art, and celebration.
Dr Hasan Mahmud, the Honourable minister of Environment and Forest was present as chief guest and highlighted the importance of increasing awareness regarding wildlife conservation; saying it will help to take action against the powers threatening our wildlife and wilderness.
Professor Md. Anwarul Islam, CEO of WildTeam, explained the need for the change, “we feel that the only way to save our wildlife is to work together as one team and support each other’s efforts, whether we are the government, civil society, NGO, media, general public, or living next to the forest. We also need to mobilise the youth and create a whole new generation dedicated to saving the animals we all love, so the new name WildTeam is all about getting more people involved in a positive and exciting way”.
Iqbal Hussain, Country Manager for WildTeam explained more, “our new identity WildTeam is a representation of our four core values; “our value of celebrating nature is all about focusing more on how amazing wildlife is and how it is connected to all our lives, being grounded in reality means that we base everything we do on solid research, acting fearlessly shows how we always think of trying new things and standing up on behalf of our wildlife, and believing in people is about recognizing that working with local people is the only way we are going to get the change we need to save wildlife. If you share our values then you can already consider yourself part of WildTeam and we welcome you with open arms.”
Rezvin Akter of WildTeam pointed out how WildTeam is already living up to its motto of “changing the game for nature”, “WildTeam is helping to bring young people into conservation through its Nowazesh Knowledge Centre, getting local people involved in saving tigers by building up a network of over 32 village teams made up of more than 220 volunteers, and starting a Sundarbans-wide Mother-like Sundarbans Campaign to build support and encourage positive action in the local communities. WildTeam is also working to support the government to improve wildlife legislation, create action plans, and advise on the wildlife advisory board and India-Bangladesh working group on Sundarbans conservation.”
Mr. Khan, chairman of WildTeam summed up the event and hopes for the future “ I feel our country is on a journey to try and save the wildlife we love. So, as WildTeam was born in Bangladesh, I request the people of Bangladesh, as WildTeam’s parents and family, to support us on our path”.