Universities Unite to Save Wild Tigers
Auburn, Clemson, Mizzou, and LSU hope to help double tiger population
“Go Tigers!” is the chant you hear ringing across campus at Auburn, Clemson, Mizzou, and LSU.
But, many students at those schools might not realize that the wild tiger is a dying species.
So, Auburn University along with Clemson University, the University of Missouri, and Louisiana State University are joining forces to save the wild tiger population.
“We have many students say “Go Tigers” everyday, but they don’t know what kind of shape they (wild tigers) are in and, if they knew, then they would be more concerned for that animal we hold so dear,” said Clemson University Dean of Social, Behavioral and Health Sciences Dr. Brett Wright.
Because of poaching and lost of habitat, there are only about 3,200 tigers left in the world.
It’s been a global effort for many years to save the wild tigers, but Clemson University got involved a few years ago and reached out to other land grant universities, that have tiger mascots, such as Auburn University, to see if they would be interested in helping out as well.
All four schools which have tigers as their mascot have banded together in the U.S. Tiger University Consortium.
“University of Missouri is proud to support the Tiger consortium and we hope to significantly contribute to tiger conservation through research and awareness,” said Sheena Rice, a University of Missouri Spokesperson.
The University of Memphis has expressed interest in helping, too.
“I think it’s important for all of us to be concerned. And, we are preserving these species that are endangered or protected. This particular one is at risk if we don’t plan well for the future,” said Dr. Tim Boosinger, Provost at Auburn University.
Boosinger and Wright traveled to India this spring to learn a little more about tiger reserves and determine what the schools can do to help save this species.
“We have a moral obligation to try to bring the power of the university to bear on this problem and help save this regal species,” said Dr. Wright.
After a better understanding of tiger reserves, they have a plan moving forward.
“We are going to work together to invest some resources in educating students in India and American students to work together help solve these problems going forward,” said Dr. Boosinger.
Auburn and Clemson plan to bring four students to the US to complete their doctorate at Clemson and Auburn University, focusing their research on things that are important to tiger conservation.
“The beauty of this initiative is we can share these capacities with other universities to solve this bigger problem,” said Dr. Janaki Alavalapati, Dean of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University.
Their end goal is to double the tiger population by 2022 through a collaborative effort including research, training, raising awareness, and getting more people involved.
Auburn University and Clemson University will celebrate their partnership at their big game coming up on September 9th.
Also, the day before the game, the Global Tiger Initiative Counsel will have their inaugural meeting at Clemson to celebrate all things tiger.