Samia Saif grew up with a great passion for nature. During her primary school years, she had a strong feeling that something was wrong in the way people were interacting with nature. This feeling stayed with her for years. So, after graduating in Biology, she chose to dedicate her professional career to species conservation. Samia became a programme officer at the Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh (WTB), where she provided research assistance to WTB’s ongoing research projects. After a life-changing first encounter with a Bengal Tiger in 2011, she decided to dedicate her PhD to the conservation of these amazing species.
Vision and Approach
In Bangladesh, tigers are found only in the Sundarbans mangrove forest. This globally important tiger population is in critical condition: if the current rate of decline is not handled, the population will be extinct within five to ten years. Samia conducted the first ever research on tiger poaching, trade and consumption in Bangladesh. The results show that poaching is the most significant threat to Bangladesh’s last tiger population. The research was not without danger and relied on Samia gaining the trust and respect of villagers from communities bordering the Sundarbans. Based on Samia’s research, anti-poaching teams have been developed and trained, which is an important step in tiger conservation.
Impact of the Future For Nature Award
“For me Future For Nature is a life saver. I was in the middle of my research, and the importance of the study was discussed by every funding organization. I paid my tuition fees with the prize money. Without that, I could not have finished my studies, and the Wild Team and the Forest Department of Bangladesh could not have started working on anti-poaching efforts to protect the tigers in the Sunderbans.” – Samia Saif
- The financial support of the Future For Nature Award made it possible for Samia to finish her studies and therefore made it possible for the Wild Team and the Forest Department of Bangladesh to start working on anti-poaching efforts.
“Samia Saif has shown huge initiative and great fearlessness in pursuing tiger conservation in an innovative way at great personal risk – refusing to give in to pressure, threats, and prejudice. She has practical, on-the-ground experience combined with significant academic credentials. Impressively, she has achieved a lot in a short space of time, and she is focusing on innovative solutions to long-term problems.” – 2013, Simon Stuart, International Selection Commitee