Dhaka, June 6th, 2024 -- The Government of Bangladesh bestowed the country’s most prestigious award for wildlife conservation, the Bangabandhu Award for “Dedicated Wildlife Conservation Organization,” to the WCS Bangladesh Program in recognition of the program’s valuable contributions to advancing wildlife conservation management in Bangladesh.

WCS has been working in Bangladesh for more than two decades providing technical and policy input to government partners, strengthening site-based conservation initiatives.

Through long-term partnerships with the government, citizen scientists and local communities, WCS has supported the protection of 6,679.7 km2 of marine areas. This includes the creation of three Wildlife Sanctuaries for freshwater dolphins in the Sundarbans in 2012 and the country’s three marine protected areas (MPAs) including the Swatch-of-No-Ground MPA in 2014, the Nijhum Dwip MPA in 2019 and the Saint Martin MPA in 2022.

WCS supports the Bangladesh Forest Department with habitat protection for the conservation of tigers and their prey in the Sundarbans through improved understanding of the spatial and temporal distribution of threats and strengthened conservation management and awareness. 

In addition, WCS improves capacity to tackle illegal wildlife trade and strengthen CITES compliance through improved protection of CITES-listed and threatened sharks and rays, and through counter-wildlife trafficking measures primarily focused on illegal trade in tortoises and freshwater turtles, and exotic pets, with emphasis on evidence-based demand reduction approaches.

Furthermore, WCS motivates and engages local communities and institutions to conserve wildlife and wild places through innovative and interactive educational outreach and training events. These events incorporate scientific findings, legislation, and conservation concepts related to threatened species, their habitats, and protected areas, making this information accessible and inspiring support and compliance.

“The Bangabandhu Award is a testament to the dedicated work of our team and the support from our collaborators. This recognition motivates us to continue our science-based, community informed conservation efforts for safeguarding Bangladesh’s wildlife and wild places for generations to come,” said WCS Bangladesh Country Director, Dr. Md. Zahangir Alom. He added his heartfelt gratitude to the Government of Bangladesh for this prestigious award and to partners in local communities and institutions for their continued collaboration and support.