Thirteen has always been deemed an unlucky number, but for us at WildTeam, 2013 has been a very very exciting year for us. 2012 marked our transition from Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh to WildTeam, and this year has helped us take bold steps forward in our journey.
2013 was buzzing with excitement from the very first day. We were getting ready for the Wild Rickshaw Challenge – an epic 400 kilometer rickshaw journey across Bangladesh. 20 brave challengers came together from all over the globe came together to show that they dared to care for tigers. Through a time of great political unrest in the country, a journey from Teknaf to the Sundarbans looked next to impossible at one moment. But our fantastic team and amazing challengers made the impossible possible and crossed the finish line beside the beautiful mangroves, motivating countless people about protecting tigers and Sundarbans in the process.
Meanwhile the Sundarban Mayer Moton ( Mother-like Sundarbans) campaign that started in February 2012 was continuing with full swing. Across 26 unions bordering the Sundarbans, awareness raising events were held for women and children. Through stories, songs and colours, they were encouraged to express to give voice to the love they had for the Sundarbans. The next phase of the campaign will encourage people to come forward and act on that love to participate in active protection of the forest.
Towards the end of the year, a stray tiger that entered the village of Noli in Pathorghata. With the help of local Village Tiger Response Teams and WildTeam’s emergency response team the tiger was sent to the forest without any damage to life or property. Another tiger led safely back home.
Through it all WildTeam kept enriching itself, we received our NGO bureau registration, new researches began, WildTeamers gathered new skills through national and international trainings, our learnings and stories were shared with people home and abroad and new friends and partners joined our journey.
We ended the year with the responsibility of USAID’s Bagh Project, the biggest ever species conservation project in Bangladesh. It’s a challenge we undertake with determination and enthusiasm – and hopefully at the end of 2014, there will be many more positive stories to tell.