Tigers For Tigers: Students Hope To Save Animals
Student-led initiative aims at uniting schools with tiger mascots to save endangered wild tigers.
CLEMSON — Clemson University student organization Tigers for Tigers has launched an initiative to collaborate with colleges and universities across the nation to save endangered wild tigers. The organization plans to form a coalition among colleges with tiger mascots that will culminate in a national summit.
On behalf of the group, Clemson President James F. Barker sent letters to more than 50 schools with tiger mascots soliciting their support for Tigers for Tigers’ efforts.
Fewer than 3,200 tigers are left in the wild, and three of nine subspecies have gone extinct, according to the National Wildlife Federation. The national summit that Tigers for Tigers hopes to initiate would bring together experts from around the world to discuss tiger conservation and develop targeted plans to raise awareness and support for this cause.
In the letter, Barker noted the importance of this partnership to schools that represent themselves with the tiger mascot.
“Our institutions adopted the tiger as our symbol because of its fierce strength, beauty and dignity,” he wrote. “We can hardly sit by as our mascot disappears.”
Founded in 1997, Tigers for Tigers has endorsed tiger conservation by hosting community events and fundraisers. It has collaborated with the anti-poaching organization Tiger Trust India and has sent more than 100 students to India over the past 10 years to study tigers in the wild.
By forming an intercollegiate coalition, Tigers for Tigers hopes to establish a student-run organization with partner universities across the country. Each chapter would participate in annual fundraising events to benefit tiger conservation efforts. Tigers for Tigers has received positive responses from such schools as the University of Missouri, and it hopes to form more partnerships with tiger-mascot institutions as plans for a national summit take shape this fall.
“It’s one thing to see a tiger in captivity, but to see one roaming in its natural territory will make you speechless,” said Carmony Adler, vice president of Tigers for Tigers. “If wild tigers come to no longer exist, the world we live in will have lost a special part of itself. We refuse to let this happen.”
Sean Carnell, president of Tigers for Tigers, quoted conservationist Rachel Carson, who once said: “One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, ‘What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?’ We were fortunate to see tigers in the wild, but this may not be possible in the future.”