University of Missouri events promote tiger welfare
By Christian Holley, Staff Writer.
Posted October 17, 2006.
As many people watched the MU Tigers play the Texas A&M Aggies in a football game on Saturday, one campus organization was thinking less about football and more about the school’s mascot.
Saturday afternoon, the Mizzou Tigers for Tigers held an event to boost awareness about the plight of the world’s tigers.
Since Mizzou Tigers for Tigers was founded in 1999, several different faculty, student and staff groups have worked together to “ensure that there will be wild tigers as long as there are Mizzou Tigers,” according to the group’s Web site.
At the event, which was held in the Life Sciences Center, there were numerous children’s activities, such as face painting, as well as an appearance by Truman the Tiger.
The centerpiece of the event was the presentation of a documentary called “Tigers of the Emerald Forest,” which chronicled the lives of wild tigers and several of the problems they face, such as poaching and a lack of habitat.
There was a brief question-and-answer session with Diane Sanderson, the president of the organization and a professor in the department of fisheries and wildlife sciences.
“Tigers for Tigers is a mascot conservation program,” Sanderson said. “All proceeds go to international and national foundations.”
Many of the members brought their children to the event.
“I loved it, and my children like animals,” longtime organization member Susan Groshong said.
During her presentation, Sanderson said the world tiger population is in danger.
Tigers are an endangered species, and “in the 1990s the outlook for tigers were that they would be extinct by 2000. In the last 10 years we’ve lost about 40 percent.”
She went on to add that the principal reasons for the tigers’ decline has been poaching and the loss of their natural habitat as well as the species that they prey on.
According to the Tigers for Tigers Web site, the world tiger population has declined 95 percent in the past 100 years, and three tiger subspecies have become extinct.
It is estimated that only 5,000 to 7,000 wild tigers now exist.
October is Tiger Awareness Month, and Tigers for Tigers is hosting several different events. Beside the documentary and children’s activities, members also participated in the Homecoming 5K Run/Walk.
Those interested in joining can fill out a request at the group’s Web site (web.missouri.edu/~tigers). All donations go to the Save the Tiger Fund and other conservation funds, such as the World Wildlife Foundation.