Staff

WCS Bangladesh Staff

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Brian Smith
International Program Director
Brian D. Smith has directed the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Asian Freshwater and Coastal Cetacean Program since 2001, and he has demonstrated leadership through more than 20 years of experience conducting cetacean research and conservation projects in countries including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Brian currently serves as the Asia Coordinator, and is a member of the Red List subgroup, of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Cetacean Specialist Group. He is also a member of the Society for Marine Mammalogy Conservation Committee, World Commission on Protected Areas/IUCN SSC Marine Mammal Protected Area Task Force, and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) Aquatic Mammal Working Group. In 2006, Brian initiated, and since then has led, the WCS Bangladesh Program. This program has focused on providing protection for among the world’s largest populations of globally threatened freshwater and coastal dolphins through robust conservation science, strong engagement with community and government partners, and the establishment of protected areas in critical habitat including three Wildlife Sanctuaries for Freshwater Dolphins in the Sundarbans mangrove forest, and Bangladesh’s first marine protected areas to conserve cetaceans, sharks, rays and marine turtles in 1,738 sq km at the head of the Swatch-of-No-Ground submarine canyon and in open estuarine waters offshore of the Sundarbans.
Elisabeth Fahrni Mansur
Director, Education and Livelihoods
As Director of Education and Livelihoods for WCS Bangladesh Elisabeth Fahrni Mansur develops informative and culturally appropriate strategies and tools for educational outreach and connecting wildlife conservation with sustainable livelihoods. Elisabeth organizes interactive conservation workshops, and coordinates training programs and internships. She interacts with national and international partners, and supports the Program Director with management and reporting. Elisabeth’s seven years experience as an educator, teacher's trainer and principal in Switzerland has been especially beneficial for her current position. Since moving to Bangladesh in 2002, Elisabeth Fahrni Mansur has focused on studying various aspects of biodiversity and human interactions in the world's largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans. Elisabeth has worked as a nature guide and professional wildlife photographer, and she has coauthored and published several books highlighting the wildlife and traditional human uses of the Sundarbans forest. As former CEO of The Guide Tours Ltd., a local nature tourism company in Bangladesh, she has invaluable experience in developing locally appropriate strategies for integrating ecotourism with wildlife conservation. In 2008 she was selected as a Kinship Conservation Fellow and trained in market-based tools for conservation and leadership.
Farhana Akhtar
Since 2013, Farhana Akhtar has served as Education and Training Coordinator for WCS Bangladesh. Her responsibilities include developing educational outreach programs and materials, supervising student interns, training and mentoring community facilitators, and overseeing the production of educational outreach and training materials. Farhana first joined WCS Bangladesh as Education Outreach Program Assistant in 2011 after volunteering as a student interpreter for our educational outreach activiti
Since 2013, Farhana Akhtar has served as Education and Training Coordinator for WCS Bangladesh. Her responsibilities include developing educational outreach programs and materials, supervising student interns, training and mentoring community facilitators, and overseeing the production of educational outreach and training materials. Farhana first joined WCS Bangladesh as Education Outreach Program Assistant in 2011 after volunteering as a student interpreter for our educational outreach activities. Farhana completed her Masters of Philosophy degree in Wildlife Ecology, Management and Conservation from Jahangirnagar University in Bangladesh. Farhana was also awarded an internship as a visiting scholar at the National Primate Research Center, University of Washington, where she completed a course on laboratory and virological skills. In 2015 she was invited and participated as a speaker at the Student Conferenc
Rubaiyat Mowgli Mansur
WCS Country Representative and Principal Researcher
After participating in pioneering cetacean surveys led by WCS in the Sundarbans and in the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh, Rubaiyat joined WCS as Principal Researcher in 2006. He is currently responsible for leading marine research activities in coastal waters and the Swatch-of-No-Ground submarine canyon of Bangladesh. In 2009 Rubaiyat was selected for a Global Fellowship in Marine Conservation at Duke University. Rubaiyat Mansur Mowgli is a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Cetacean Specialist Group. Before joining WCS, Rubaiyat worked in the Sundarbans mangrove forest as a wildlife photographer, nature guide and field assistant for national and international documentary films. Besides several scientific publications he co-authored a comprehensive field guide as well as a coffee-table book on the Sundarbans mangrove forest and a book on the honey-collectors of Sundarbans.

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