Friday, 3 April 2015

My Interview with The Daily New Nation Newspaper, Bangladesh

A Young Birder in Bangladesh

Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Sonadia Island, Bangladesh
Photograph copyright Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project

I had a really excellent week in Bangladesh during February half term.  There was political unrest over there, that made it difficult to travel around.  We still managed to fly down to Cox's Bazar and then go on a day trip to Sonadia Island, to see the amazing and rare Spoon-billed Sandpipers.  I also did my talk in Dhaka, Born to Bird which went really well. The aim of the trip was to highlight the Spoon-billed Sandpiper to as many Bangladeshi's as possible both in Bangladesh and in the UK.  

Family photograph for Channel S (UK) Chris Craig, Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, 
Helena Craig and Ayesha Ahmed-Mendoza
Photograph copyright Chris Craig

That was why my interview talking about Spoon-billed Sandpiper on Channel S (UK) was so important.  It was shown on the most watched Bangladeshi channel in the UK and Europe as well as on Ekattor TV, a 24 hour News channel in Bangladesh.  My interview was shown in Bangladesh the day before I arrived, with the aim of being well timed with my visit. 

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig being filmed by Channel S (UK)
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

It was great to meet a girl called Shelly who worked in a beauty salon (who would have had limited education) who had seen my interview, recognised me and was able to tell me about Spoon-billed Sandpipers.

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with Shelly in a "parlour" in Cox's Bazar
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

An Article in The Daily New Nation, A Bangladeshi Newspaper about Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Whilst I was in Bangladesh, my uncle, Arshad Hosein, who is Managing Editor of the English language broadsheet newspaper,The Daily New Nation, arranged for me to be interviewed for the newspaper about me, the Spoon-billed Sandpiper in Bangladesh and my trip there. It is one of the most highly regarded and long standing broadsheet newspaper in Bangladesh.

The article came out on 3rd April 2015 a month after we were back home

The link for the article is

Birdgirl - A world record holding Bangladeshi bird watcher

Published at: 03rd-Apr-2015 

By Sheikh Arif Bulbon: Mya-Rose Craig also known as ‘birdgirl’ is a real rarity. She is a 12-year-old young birdwatcher, conservationist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol in the UK and writes the successful bird girl blog, with posts from around the world. She has recently been listed with the singer songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones as one of her hometown’s most influential young people. Mya-Rose was included for her work in bird conservation and writing. Her response was “I hope that I can use that influence to try and save our planet along with everything on it. I am ecstatic to be recognised for my work in conservation.”In 2013, she became the youngest person to see 3000 bird species in the world. She has now gone on to see 3,700 birds out of a total possible in the world of 10,500 and hopes to see her 4,000th bird species in December 2015 in Antarctica, her seventh continent. After that, her next target is to see 5,250 birds, which is half the world’s birds, before she is 18 years old.Mya-Rose first came to prominence in the 2010 BBC Four documentary “Twitchers: A Very British Obsession” when a delightful 7 years old Mya-Rose was seen bird watching around the UK with her parents. 

Mya-Rose has also been chosen to be Ambassador for the international bird conservation initiative, World Shorebird Day. She has written about her love of waders (shorebirds in the USA) and has a special love for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper, one of the world’s rarest waders with only 200 left.Mya-Rose explains “Spoon-billed Sandpipers breed in Arctic Russia during the summer and then fly 8,000 kilometres south all the way to Bangladesh to spend the winter. World Shorebirds Day raises awareness and money for these birds and I am really proud to be supporting them.”Mya-Rose recently came on a one-week trip to Bangladesh with a camera crew, to see and survey just this one bird. The Spoon-billed Sandpiper is critically endangered and of the 200 birds left in the world, about 25 birds are known to winter in Bangladesh but the number is thought to be much higher. She has wanted to see this bird since 2010, when they were re-found on the mud flats of Sonadia Island. 

 Mya-Rose’s family is from Sylhet, Bangladesh and she feels proud that this bird is found in Bangladesh and how much has been done here to save it. There are lots of organisations around the world involved in the project to save this bird. One is WWT Slimbridge in the UK, which took eggs back and have 26 birds that they hope will breed this year. Mya-Rose was lucky to see the chicks not long after they arrived with Sayam U Chowdhury who runs the Bangladeshi project. After setting off from Cox’s Bazar by boat, they carried out the survey on Sonadia Island with researchers Mohammed Foysal and Sakib Ahmed, during which they found 19 birds. She said, “Today was the most amazing day possible for any bird watcher. I am feeling so happy from the experience and so am really glad to be telling you about it.” It was a spring tide, which meant that the tide rose quickly from low tide. Getting off the boat, they had to roll up their trousers and walk through deep water, sinking into the mud and making it hard to walk. Within a few minutes, the group saw their first 3 Spoon-billed Sandpipers. As the birds turned their heads, they could see their trademark bill, which is black and shaped like a flat spoon. Over the next 40 minutes, a total of 19 birds were counted which is 10 per cent of the world population, seen on just one island. 

On the way back, they stopped at a village, meeting lots of children and the writer handing out colourful postcards and clothes. They then met an ex-hunter who had received money to start a shop and was happier than trying to feed his family with the tiny birds. They then had to rush back to the boat to avoid getting stranded at low tide. Mya-Rose commented, “I have seen other rare birds, but the Spoon-billed Sandpiper seems the most special to me.” 

Mya-Rose is already an accomplished speaker and gave a talk at the high profile WWT Slimbridge Festival of Birds in January. A 3-person team from the BBC Natural History Unit filmed her talk following on from a meeting with 4 of their senior producers the week before.On February 20 2015, Mya-Rose gave a well-attended talk at The Long Beach Suites Hotel, Gulshan 2, Dhaka, which was presented by the Bangladesh Bird Club. In it, she highlighted conservation issues in Bangladesh including the Sundarbans oil spill and the risks to the Spoon-billed Sandpiper if a deep-sea port was built. Mya-Rose will also be talking at the well-regarded Oriental Bird Club AGM in Cambridge about her trip to Bangladesh and her film will be shown on TV stations in the UK and Bangladesh.

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig with local children on Sonadia Island, Bangladesh
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

About the writer

Young Birder Mya-Rose Craig on Scilly
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig

Mya-Rose Craig is a 12 year old young birder, conservationist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world. She was the youngest person to see 3,000 birds in 2013 and she hopes to see her 4,000th bird in Antarctica, her 7th continent, in 2015. Please like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter

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