World Turtle News, 11/30/2018
Bangladeshi tribe that’s guarding turtles, co-authoring research papers
In the beginning, Shahriar Caesar Rahman’s trips to the remote forests of the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh would invariably end in frustration.
Rahman was searching for reptiles, and based on what the local people were telling him, the largely unexplored forests of the Hill Tracts seemed to be home to a wide variety of them and other wild animals. But he could find no visual proof to confirm the claims.
“They would tell me ‘Oh, we saw a gaur, we just ate a turtle, or we found this or that,’” Rahman, co-founder and CEO of the Creative Conservation Alliance (CCA), a nonprofit based in the capital Dhaka, told Mongabay. “I would ask them, ‘Do you have any evidence?,’ and they would say ‘No.’ So every time I would feel frustrated that they are telling me about all these species but I don’t have any proof.”
In the years to come, the local people did hand him plenty of evidence. All it took were a few point-and-shoot cameras and some training to build a team of indigenous parabiologists — people lacking in formal education but trained to carry out specific scientific tasks. These parabiologists quickly went on to catapult both the Hill Tracts, and Rahman, into the limelight.
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