Community-based Conservation in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh

  • Focal species: Arakan Forest Turtle, Cinese pangolin
  • Secondary species: Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), Asian giant tortoise (Manouria emys), Asian leaf turtle (Cyclemys gemeli), Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus), Asiatic golden cat (Catopuma temminckii), Burmese python (Python bivittatus), clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), dhole (Cuon alpinus), elongated tortoise (Indotestudo elongata), fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), gaur (Bos gaurus), great hornbill (Buceros bicornis), hoolock gibbon (Hoolock hoolock), Indochinese leopard (Panthera pardus delacouri), keeled box turtle (Cuora mouhotii), leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis), Phayre's leaf monkey (Trachypithecus phayrei crepusculus), serow (Capricornis sp.), Sun bear (Helarctos malayanus), Sylhet roof turtle (Pangshura sylhetensis), tiger (Panthera tigris)
  • Countries: Bangladesh
  • Name of organisation: Creative Conservation Alliance
  • Support requested:
    contributions for specific items >1000 euro,
    contributions to running of project <1000 euro,
  • Does this project benefit local people through employment and/or capacity building: yes
  • Does this project benefit local people in other ways: Our programs are centered around the local people. We employ indigneous hunters and harness their traditional ecological knowledge in order to conserve their ancestral forests. Our organization has several alternative livelihood initiatives running including our Schools for Conservation program, Craft for Conservation program, Indigo dye processing, and a plant nursery. All profits are directed to several female-led social businesses for the funds to be distributed throughout the communities. Our programs are incentizing the Mro tribe to revive traditions which were nearly lost forever.
  • This project concept is endorsed by:
    • ASAP
    • the IUCN-SSC Specialist Group(s) relevant to the focal species

Project Description

The Chittagong Hill Tracts, located in south-eastern Bangladesh, falls within the Indo-Burma Biodiversity Hotspot. Our organization’s work in this area for the last six years has documented the persistence of at least 30 globally-threatened species, including two ASAP species: Chinese pangolin and Arakan forest turtle. Years of subsistence hunting, commercial poaching, and habitat destruction through logging and traditional slash-and-burn agricultural practices has led to drastic species population reductions. Hunting is the most immediate threat, and without intervention, the extirpation of Chinese pangolin in the region and Arakan forest turtle from one of their two range countries is inevitable. To prevent this, our project will empower additional traditional indigenous hunters into parabiologists and employ them to conduct forest patrols and species monitoring surveys. These parabiologists will also act as local ambassadors for wildlife conservation in the area for years to come, continuing to sensitize local communities to the importance of species conservation. Our previous work has shown that by empowering local communities we can drastically reduce hunting pressure and ensure habitat protection in a short amount of time. The project will take a holistic landscape-based approach, helping the local communities to reduce dependency on forest resources through sustainable agroforestry and livelihood support. This would not only ensure the protection of these critically endangered ASAP species, but also help conserve both the habitat and over 28 other globally-threatened species occurring in same area.

This project operates synergistically with multiple distinct components and has been bringing conservation success to the region for over six years. Funding from other sources are used primarily to support primary education, livelihood programs, such as craft for conservation, indigo dye processing and marketing, promoting sustainable agroforestry, etc. These activities are necessary to establish trust and reduce community dependence on forest resources.

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