Thursday, 19 March 2015

My interview with The Daily Ittefaq, A Bangladeshi Newspaper

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

My week in Bangladesh had been brilliant.  Despite the political unrest, we had 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.  Doing a talk in Dhaka was the icing on the cake. My aim from 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, 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 perfectly timed with my visit. 

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.

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

Whilst I was in Bangladesh, my Mum's uncle and my Nana, Josim Ahmed, asked a couple of journalist contacts to speak to me.  Ashish Saikat who is the Managing Editor at The Daily Ittefaq came to my talk, which was a highlight.  It is the most highly regarded and long standing broadsheet newspaper in Bangladesh and I was really lucky that Mr Saikat could make it.

Ashish Saikat Managing Editor at The Daily Ifttefaq, Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig and Josim Ahmed, film-maker
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

The article came out on 11th March 2015 a couple of weeks after we were back home

The link for the article is

Article on Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig in The Daily Ittefaq 11 March 2015

English Translation

The content is OK but is not in the right order.  Thank you to Raffee Ahmed for preparing the translation into Bangla 

Birdgirl – A world record holding Bangladeshi bird watcher

Mya-Rose Craig is a 12 year old birdwatcher, conservationist and writer.    She is based in Bristol, UK and writes the successful birdgirl blog.

She has been listed with the singer George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones as one of her hometown’s most influential young people, for her work in bird conservation.

In 2013, she became the youngest person to see 3000 bird species in the world out of a possible 10,500.  She hopes to see her 4,000th bird species in December 2015 in Antarctica, her seventh continent.

Mya first became known in the 2010 BBC Four documentary “Twitchers: A Very British Obsession” when a delightful 7 year old Mya was seen birdwatching with her parents. 

Mya has been chosen to be Ambassador for the international bird conservation initiative, World Shorebird Day. She has a special love for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper, one of the world’s rarest waders (shorebirds), with only 200 left.

Mya 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.” She recently came to Bangladesh with a camera crew, to survey this one bird which was organised by Sayam U Chowdhury who runs the Bangladesh project.

Mya’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. 

Setting off from Cox’s Bazar by boat, they carried out the survey on Sonadia Island with researchers Mohammed Foysal and Sakib Ahmed.  Straight away, they saw three with their spoon shaped bills.  In total they counted 19 birds, 10% of the world population. 

They stopped at a village, handing out clothes and colourful postcards to the children and meeting an ex-hunter who has a tailor shop, funded by the project.   Mya-Rose commented “Today was the most amazing day possible for any birdwatcher.  I have seen other rare birds, but the Spoon-billed Sandpiper is the most special.

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

Last month Mya gave a talk at the “Festival of Birds” filmed by the BBC Natural History Unit.  On 20th February 2015, she gave a well attended talk in Gulshan, 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 of building a deep sea port on Sonadia.  Mya will also be speaking at the Oriental Bird Club AGM in Cambridge about her trip to Bangladesh and showing the film on TV stations in the UK and Bangladesh.

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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