World Tiger Day is Thursday, July 29. Come celebrate the largest cats in the world at Riverside Discovery Center on Saturday, July 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. We will have tiger keeper talks, a biofact table, and other hands-on tiger related activities.
There are less than 3,500 tigers left in the wild, and they need our help, so all proceeds from the event and our dunk tank will go to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Tiger Conservation Campaign.
Tigers are a keystone species. They are an important part of the ecosystems they are in and can greatly shape what other animals are present in the areas they inhabit. Tigers have lost around 93% of their historic range which used to cover all of India, China and parts of Russia all the way into Indonesia and are now only found in small, isolated groups within their historic range. Because tigers are solitary, they usually have home ranges with minimal overlapping, which means they require large swaths of land for hunting and breeding. Some of the threats tigers face today include habitat loss and degradation, habitat fragmentation, poaching, loss of prey populations, human-tiger conflict and disease.
The Tiger Conservation Campaign was developed in 2012 by the AZA Tiger Species Survival Plan. The campaign currently has six projects for Amur, Malayan and Sumatran tigers. These six conservation programs are split between the three subspecies and help support wild tigers by funding research and tracking for the tigers and their prey, helping with human-tiger conflict resolution, putting anti-poaching methods in place, securing important land for hunting and breeding, and ensuring a healthy wild population by managing diseases.
The campaign partners with the Wildlife Conservation Society based in New York and has 20 conservation sites across Russia, Malaysia and Indonesia. Staff at these conservation sites have in-depth knowledge of tiger threats and local communities. This helps them work with communities in installing tiger-proof livestock pens and other apparatuses that keep tigers away from villages and reduce human-tiger conflict. Conservation site staff also conduct ranger patrols and anti-poaching efforts including dismantling snares and preventing humans from entering protected areas.
If you are unable to make it to Saturday’s event, you can still make a monetary donation at the zoo or online at the Tiger Conservation Campaign’s website. You can help preserve their natural habitat at home by buying sustainably sourced palm oil products, designated by a sustainability logo on the product, and sustainably harvested wood and paper products certified by the Rainforest Stewardship Council.