IUCN - No smoke without fire

No smoke without fire

02 August 2011 | News story

A team of young Bangladeshi conservationists which have been supported by the Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP) through Save Our Species (SOS) funding recently found themselves in the right place at the right time to stop a fire raging across an area of the Sundarbans in Bangladesh.

The team focuses much of their efforts on conserving two threatened species of dolphin – the Ganges River dolphin and the Irrawaddy dolphin. However, on this occasion they were able to intervene and help save threatened terrestrial species found in this important forest and mangrove habitat.

In addition to conservation activities and academic pursuits, some team members take groups of tourists out to learn about the Sundarban’s landscapes and wildlife. It was during one trip in the forest that the team were called into action by forest department officials to help stop an accidental fire which had probably been started by a cigarette butt carelessly tossed on the ground.

The Sundarbans are home to countless numbers of threatened species including the Endangered Royal Bengal tiger which is a national animal of Bangladesh. Habitat loss is one of the major threats to the Bengal tiger and they have lost up to 50% of suitable habitat across Asia. This incident demonstrates the need for greater environmental education to raise the consciousness of people to be responsible citizens and help reduce threats to Bangladesh’s wild animals.