Three day long TigerScout Annual Camp (29 September to 1 October) has ended in Khulna. Held in CSS Ava Center, the annual camp is aimed to increase the motivation, skill and knowledge level of TigerScout members. This year, it was the third addition of this regular arrangement. The three-day long camp included a wide array of activities for the scouts which includes: Basic skills training, first aid training, team exercise, exploring plants and wildlife, field book preparation, physical training, public speaking, cultural activities and team building.
TigerScout, an initiative of WildTeam is a very unique concept and relatively new idea in Bangladesh’s conservation scenario. Students from various schools of Sundarbans adjacent localities are selected to take part on a voluntary basis. The program started in 2016, as part of USAID funded Bengal Tiger Conservation (Bagh) activity in collaboration with the forest department. Promising scouts are selected from the local schools adjacent to the Sundarbans based on their motivation for wildlife conservation, leadership quality and interest in volunteerism. At present 40 Scouts from 22 wards are working as volunteers in the Mangrove forest.
This year has been a big success for the Scouts. A selected group of eight were sent on an exposure trip to Indian Sundarbans in mid-September this year. Branded as TigerScout Exposure Program, the five-day trip ranging from 11th to 16th of September 2019 was intended to highlight the importance of non-formal education in Wildlife Conservation and therefore foster the development of TigerScouts in the Sundarbans of West Bengal, India.
The TigerScouts also act as Tiger Ambassadors in their schools and engage students, children, and youths in tiger conservation through student forums. They volunteer to spread the tiger conservation campaign messages in their community through small community events and social activities. The TigerScouts are also members of the Sundarbans Education Centre (SEC) and regularly assist SEC’s action committee to implement SEC’s programs. These young volunteers are considered vital since their passion and training makes them very promising conservationist.
At the inaugural ceremony of the annual camp, Md Moyeen Uddin Khan, Conservator of Forests (CF), Khulna Circle opened the camp and acclaimed the young and energetic TigerScouts and proposed to create future opportunities to engage them for their respective roles. Two Tiger Scouts- Sinthia Ahmed and Saimon Boyati- spoke about their activities, role and responsibilities, and their future dreams as a TigerScout. Various other forest officials, namely Md Bashirul-Al-Mamun, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Sundarbans West Forest Division, Khulna and Md Mahmudul Hassan, DFO, Sundarbans East Forest Division, Bagerhat were present at the ceremony.
WildTeam has been working to conserve Sundarbans since 2003. Various projects have been implemented by WildTeam to curb human-tiger conflict and poaching. Besides, by engaging youth to the tiger conservation programs, WildTeam officials aim to enhance social awareness and community-based conservation activities.