Global Tiger Day Celebration
We were very happy to celebrate Global Tiger Day at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, DC with several partners. The activities for the day were centered around the Great Cats exhibit, where the Zoo’s three Sumatran tigers live. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Wildlife Conservation Society, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and the Global Tiger Initiative Secretariat were among the organizations that participated in the event, in addition to the Zoo’s animal keepers and experts from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. All of the activities for the day were focused on conservation education and efforts to save tigers. One of the special arts-and-crafts tables for children had them make playful tiger masks while learning more about them. Our partners had tables set up where visitors could play trivia games, win prizes and learn more about what each organization is doing to save tigers. The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Tiger Conservation Partnership table displayed several tools used to study and monitor tigers in the wild including a radio collar previously used to track a Bengal Tiger in Nepal and camera traps.
As part of Global Tiger Day, the National Zoo invited visitors to see the newest member of their Sumatran Tiger Exhibit, Kavi, an 11 year old male Sumatran Tiger. Kavi joined the National Zoo under the recommendation of the Species Survival Program to be paired with Damai, the Zoo’s 3-year-old female Sumatran Tiger. Damai, Kavi and the Zoo’s eldest Sumatran Tiger, Soyono were given special enrichment activities throughout the day. Zoo visitors had the opportunity to meet the tiger keepers and ask them questions about the tigers and their enrichment activities.
Many TRCs celebrated Global Tiger Day; here are a few highlights that were shared with us:
In Bangladesh, the Department of Forests hosted a Global Tiger Day Rally in Dhaka & Khulna to support conservation efforts in the Sunderbans. The programs were participated by the Honorable Minister of Environment and Forest Dr. Hasan Mahmud and senior officials from government and civil society in Dhaka, as well as senior officials from local administration, law enforcement, Forest Dept., NGO partners, and civil society in Khulna near the Sundarbans, the main tiger habitat in Bangladesh.
In Indonesia, Global Tiger Day celebrations were kicked off by the Director of Biodiversity Conservation requesting that all the zoos in Indonesia participate by setting up banners announcing the special events designed to raise tiger conservation awareness. Community activities were organized to disseminate information on tiger conservation in Monas, one of the strategic locations in Jakarta. A finger puppet show at an orphanage in Jakarta regarding tiger conservation was organized in cooperation with "Rumah Pohon" a Foundation for Children’s Environmental Education. Students from Riau Province showed their appreciation for Forest Rangers appreciation by sending them post cards. Finally, tiger awareness campaigns took place at schools in Jambi and Padang Provinces.
Nepal’s Global Tiger Day celebrations included releasing tiger census data from Bardia National Park, convening the National Tiger Conservation Committee (NTCC) under the chairmanship of rt. honorable Prime Minister, screening the “Protected Areas Efforts in Tiger Conservation” video, and various tiger conservation performances and awareness campaigns in five tiger bearing protected areas. Nepal reported increase in tiger population to 176 tigers compared to 155 in the 2010 census.
In Myanmar Hukaung Valley Wildlife Sanctuary celebrated its first Global Tiger Day at Township hall of Tanai in cooperation with the Myanmar Police Force (Wildlife Police) and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Before the ceremony, staff from Township Forest Department, HVWS, Wildlife Police, Township Development Committee and WCS distributed a pamphlet, “Twenty Ways to Save the Tiger” in Tanai market. Present at the ceremony were Township Police Officer, Deputy Chairman of Township Women’s Federation, Departmental Heads and representatives from Political Parties, teachers and school children among an audience of more than 120.
The day’s theme focused on promoting sustainable living and support for tiger conservation. In his opening speech on behalf of the township administrator of Tanai, township police officer urged the audience to actively support efforts in Hukaung Tiger Conservation Landscape (HTCL), which needs local support to be successful.
Then the park warden of HVWS said in a brief speech that tigers need to be saved from the edge of extinction in Myanmar and across Asia. The deputy chairman of the township Women’s Federation echoed those remarks and asked the township women to oppose the consumption of wildlife meat and save natural resources like fuel, water and forest products. A WCS education officer, sub-inspector of the wildlife police station and a forester of HVWS made presentations about the manpower and government support needed to overcome growing threats to the tigers of Hukaung. At the ceremony, 15 students received awards for essays they wrote on tiger and environmental conservation. After ceremony the audience was invited to explore the HVWS education center.
Thailand celebrated by organizing a seminar on the progress of its National Tiger Recovery Priorities at the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation. Government organizations, NGO partners such as, WCS, WWF andFreeland Foundation participated in the seminar. It was divided in two parts.
The first part was the presentation about the present situation of tiger, implementing the NTRP and monitoring tiger populations. The second part was a discussion about the Thailand's goals for tiger recovery and what still needs to be done.
Global Tiger Day in Thailand. Photo courtesy of Ms. Budsabong Kanchanasaka
Director of Wildlife Research Division, Wildlife Conservation Office.