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New Marine Protected Area for Bangladesh

When the Bangladesh Cetacean Diversity Project (BCDP) was established in July 2006 by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) its objectives included researching and monitoring populations of cetaceans – whales, dolphins and porpoises – with a view to identifying and addressing threats to their welfare. This required working with both government agencies and local communities to develop conservation management plans, provide training and support for scientists and resource managers, and garner support for conservation efforts via community education programs, workshops, and the media. The recent announcement that Bangladesh has created its first marine protected area is seen as evidence that conservation efforts are starting to bear fruit.

On October 27, 2014, the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) signed into law the Swatch of No Ground Marine Protected Area (SoNG MPA), offering protection to cetaceans, sharks and sea turtles. The creation of this new conservation area comes ahead of the IUCN World Parks Congress set to take place in Sydney, Australia, on November 12-19, under the banner of "Parks, People, Planet: Inspiring Solutions". Held once every ten years, the IUCN World Parks Congress first took place in Seattle, United States in 1962 and has been held in Yellowstone, USA; Bali, Indonesia; Caracas, Venezuela; and Durban, South Africa. The objectives of the congress are primarily to influence the way the world views protected areas, review progress and developments over the previous decades, and set goals for the ten years ahead.

Covering an area of 1738 square kilometers on the southern side of Dublachar island in the Bay of Bengal, the Swatch of No Ground Marine Protected Area is home to a significant number of finless porpoises, Irrawaddy dolphins, Pacific humpback dolphins, Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, pan tropical spotted dolphins, spinner dolphins and Bryde's whales, among others, some of which are considered to be 'vulnerable' or 'endangered' from a conservation standpoint. Protecting the ecosystems in which these marine animals live is also beneficial to the local communities who make a living out of fishing in the waters. The need for protecting land and marine based natural resources is likely to become even more important as the challenges of climate change increase.

Features

Bangladesh Updates Conservation Red List

The IUCN Bangladesh Country Office, together with the Bangladesh Forest Department and funded by the World Bank, is currently updating the Species Red List of Bangladesh to determine the conservation status of 1,700 species from seven animal groups – mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, freshwater fish, crustaceans and butterflies – resident in the country. Founded in 1964, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is dedicated to identifying flora and fauna species in danger of extinction, identifying the threats they face and finding practical solutions to these problems. The project in Bangladesh will continue through 2014/2015 with more than 300 local and international experts, scientists, officials, and other interested parties participating.

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Features

Cultural Diversity at Ethnological Museum in Chittagong

Located in the city of Chittagong, the Ethnological Museum chronicles the history of the ethnic groups of Bangladesh. The museum, which was established in 1965 and opened to the public in 1974, presents the development of the country's various tribes from early days through to present day. It is the only museum of its kind in Bangladesh and serves an important role in promoting understanding and tolerance among people of different ethnicities. Visitors to the museum will find paintings, models, dioramas, maps, photographs and other items portraying the traditions and beliefs of the different ethnic groups.

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