Helping Sundarbans tigers to come back from the brink
Working in the Sundarbans
The Sundarbans of Bangladesh is a mangrove forest six times the size of Greater London. It is home to one of the world’s largest tiger populations and is surrounded by millions of people. The local people paddle through the waterways in small wooden boats, entering the forest where tigers live to collect fish, wood, and honey. Tigers also sometimes enter the villages, straying into gardens and backyards. This coexistence means tigers and people often clash.
Creating positive vibes
Saving tigers starts with harnessing and building people's motivation for doing something different. The local people living around the Sundarbans have always had a deep respect for the tiger and the forest, but in the past they have felt unable to help.
Since 2010 we have worked with local villagers to design and carry out a social marketing campaign that built a sense of ownership and excitement in the local communicaites.
We then created ways in which local villagers could take tiger conservaiton into their own hands through reducing how much deer meat (tiger food) they ate, joining teams that protected tigers that strayed into villages, and helping the authorities to catch poachers.
On their own initiative, local villagers are talking in schools about tiger conservation and going out of their way to save other wildlife like pythons, deer, monkeys, and birds.
Taking it to heart
The amazing thing is, the local vilagers are not saving tigers for us. They do it for themselves. The 100's of villagers working for tigers do so as volunteers. All we do is help harness their good feelings and empower them to do what they want to do to save tigers.