Brian D. Smith

Associate Conservation Zoologist, WCS

BCDP Program Director


Brian D. Smith directs the WCS Asian Freshwater and Coastal Cetacean Program and has demonstrated leadership through nearly 15 years of cetacean research and conservation projects in Asian countries. Mr. Smith previously served as team leader on large-scale, international cetacean research projects of the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service. He currently serves as the Asia Coordinator of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Cetacean Specialist Group and is a member of the World Wildlife Fund Cetacean Bycatch Taskforce and Convention on Migratory Species Cetacean Liaison Group. He has a strong publication background and extensive experience as a science and environmental educator. Mr. Smith is the Program Director and Principal Scientist for the BCDP, supervising project staff and working closely with them and local institutions to conduct training courses and research activities, write technical and popular articles, convene meetings and workshops and formulate, promote and implement a Cetacean Conservation and Protected Area Plan.


Benazir Ahmed

Professor, Zoology Department, Chittagong University

BCDP Program Supervisor


Professor Benazir Ahmed has been a pioneer on cetacean studies and conservation in Bangladesh. He is a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Cetacean Specialist Group and the Government Advisory Board for Wildlife Conservation in Bangladesh. He serves as the Program Supervisor for the BCDP. His leadership is essential on engaging government agencies and officials, and recruiting and motivating local scientists, resource managers and students as core members of our project team. He also co-leads training courses with the BCDP Program Director.


Rubaiyat Mansur Mowgli

BCDP Principal Researcher/Research Program Coordinator


Rubaiyat Mansur Mowgli has been working in the Sundarban mangrove forest since 1991 as 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 Sundarban mangrove forest and a book on the honey-collectors of Sundarban. Since February 2002, when he participated in the first Sundarban Cetacean survey, he has developed a deep passion for cetaceans and is now fully dedicated to their study and conservation. As BCDPs Principal Local Researcher he is responsible for coordinating and conducting BCDP cetacean research activities in the coastal waters and the Swatch-of-No-Ground of Bangladesh. Every year he spends the winter months in the Bay of Bengal studying and documenting the cetacean diversity, participates in surveys, co-leads training courses and BCDP field-work, analyses data and writes scientific reports. In 2009 Rubaiyat was selected for the Global Fellowship in Marine Conservation, thereby receiving full scholarship to attend the summer course at the Duke University Integrated Marine Conservation Program. Rubaiyat Mansur Mowgli is a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Cetacean Specialist Group.


Elisabeth Fahrni Mansur

BCDP Education and Training Coordinator


Elisabeth Fahrni Mansur is working with the BCDP staff to develop informative and culturally appropriate media materials for educational outreach and organizing workshops to be conducted by local NGOs. She has written and illustrated several educational publications on the cetaceans of Bangladesh. Elisabeth has a Master's degree in education and was a primary school teacher and principal in Switzerland before moving to Bangladesh in 2002. Since then she has worked as nature guide, wildlife photographer and coauthored a comprehensive field guide and a coffee-table book to the Sundarban mangrove forest and a book on the honey-collectors of Sundarban. She joins the team in the field as cetacean researcher, shares responsibilities for administration and logistics, and supports the Project Director in fundraising and capacity building efforts. Various schools, institutions and organizations regularly request her as presenter or consultant on cetacean research and conservation issues. In 2008 Elisabeth was selected as a Kinship Conservation Fellow for a fully funded month-long conservation leadership training focusing on developing market-based tools for conservation.



Other than these core members of the BCDP team, we are continuously inspired and supported by numerous friends and well-wishers. We do respect and hereby acknowledge there meaningful contribution.


Zahangir Alom

MSc, PhD Candidate

BCDP Project Coordinator/Cetacean Researcher


Zahangir Alom is based in the BCDP project office in Khulna and has primary responsibilities for coordinating project logistics and interacting with local counterparts. Additionally Mr. Alom is in charge of the investigation of cetacean habitat in the Sundarban mangrove forest. He organizes and takes part in the annual Sundarban Cetacean Survey and Training course. Data collected by captains of The Guide Tours Ltd. tourist vessels in Sundarban are compiled by him. He coordinates closely with BCDP staff and relevant government agencies or associated institutions on the above activities and assists the BCDP Educational Coordinator with developing and maintaining public relations, including communication with funding agencies, associates as well as responding to the BCDP Dolphin hotline.


Farhana Akhtar

BCDP Educational Outreach Program Assistant


Farhana Akhtar completed her MSc in Zoology at Jahangirnagar University in Savar, Dhaka. She volunteered as an interpreter for the BCDP Shushuk Mela in January 2011, before joining the BCDP team. As Educational Outreach Program Assistant her responsibilities include coordinating the production of the BCDP educational materials, assisting in the organization of training workshops and communicating with partner organizations.


Md. Masudur Rahman (Saikat)

BCDP Financial Manager


Md. Masudur Rahman (Saikat) has recently joined the BCDP as our Financial Manager. Saikat graduated from the University of Rajshahi and completed his MBA from the American International University Bangladesh in Dhaka. Before permanently joining our team he volunteered as exhibition interpreter for the Shushuk Mela, as field assistant for the hotspot survey in the Sundarbans, as an assistant of an Italian biologist collecting vocalization recordings of Irrawaddy dolphins, and assisted our Principal Researcher during his work at the Swatch-of-No-Ground in the Bay of Bengal. Since 2009 Saikat has also worked intensively on the BCDP photo-identification catalog as fin-matching expert. In his new position Saikat is responsible for overseeing all financial activities and assists us with other administrative tasks.