Dorthy spoke of them in The Wizard of Oz. One bounced around with Winnie the Pooh, and another still proclaims how “Greeeeaaat!” his breakfast cereal is. And yhe end of July was great for tigers as well, as Sunday, July 29th, was the officially launch of Global Tiger Day. Then, on July 30th, the Tiger Conservation Campaign announced a major milestone: $1 million has been raised in the support of conservation efforts to save wild tigers.
The tiger (Panthera tigris) is found in Asia and is highly endangered. It’s estimated that fewer than 4,000 of these beautiful big cats remain in the wild. The main threats to wild tigers, as with many endangered species, comes from habitat loss from urban growth and agriculture, as well as poaching.
A program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Tiger Species Survival Plan, and headquartered at the Minnesota Zoo, the Tiger Conservation Campaign was created in 2012. Its creation was meant to “galvanize zoo and public support for critical efforts to save wild Amur, Malayan, and Sumatran tigers.” Each of these important tiger populations is thought to number around 600 or fewer currently left in the wild.
Projects currently funded through the Campaign include efforts to curb poaching, tiger-human conflict, and trade of tiger parts in Russia, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The Wildlife Conservation Society has been the beneficiary of funds raised through the Campaign.
Dr. Tara Harris, the Minnesota Zoo’s Vice President for Conservation and AZA Tiger Species Survival Plan Coordinator, said, “I am incredibly excited to have reached $1 million in funding for wild tiger conservation! This is a huge milestone for our Campaign and for our zoo and aquarium community. I am grateful to everyone who contributed to our Campaign’s success.”
AZA Chair Jim Breheny, Director of the Bronx Zoo and Executive Vice President of Zoos & Aquarium for the Wildlife Conservation Society, echoed these sentiments, saying, “WCS is extremely proud to have such passionate and generous conservation partners in AZA zoos, their members and guests in joining together to help save these magnificent big cats from extinction. Collectively, zoos and aquariums have emerged as a conservation force and are now a direct pipeline to many on-the-ground efforts saving wildlife where they live.”
To date, along with numerous generous individuals and companies, 63 AZA-accredited zoos and nine American Association of Zoo Keepers’ chapters have contributed funds to the Tiger Conservation Campaign. The largest such contributor to the fund is the Minnesota Zoo Foundation.
Visit www.tigercampaign.org for more information about the Tiger Conservation Campaign.
Information sourced from this press release.
Read this next: Minnesota Zoo celebrates 40 years in 2018