Queensland School Students Take Timeout With A Tiger to Celebrate Year Of The Tiger
Friday, 20 November 2009
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Eight Queensland school students and their teacher were lucky enough to chill out with Mohan, the 200 kilogram tiger and learn first-hand the importance of animal conservation when they visited Dreamworld as part of their annual school camp this November.
Twelve year old student Montana Gordon said, “It was really cool to be around a tiger. Not many people get the chance to do that. But it’s upsetting to know they are going to be extinct.”
A photo with a tiger is an amazing keepsake, but to the Dreamworld Tiger Island team the photo session also provides an opportunity to gently push home the message that the tiger is on the brink of extinction.
“Tigers are diminishing fast,” said Dreamworld’s Tiger Island Manager, Patrick Martin-Vegue. “There are only 3000 Bengal tigers in the wild and 400 Sumatran tigers. Around one to three animals are killed weekly by poachers and villagers and regrettably they’re not going to last long.”
Dreamworld is gearing up for an invasion of tiger lovers in 2010 as the Chinese New Year, celebrated on Valentine’s Day, introduces the Year of the Tiger.
The Chinese believe that “the animal hides in your heart” and that those born in the year of the Tiger are fearless, noble and bursting with vitality. Generous and having a great empathy for all creatures great and small, these traits echo in the hearts of the Dreamworld team and their relentless efforts to increase tiger numbers in the wild through conservation initiatives.
To date Dreamworld has donated more than a million dollars to the Tiger Conservation Fund through Tiger walks, tiger photos and guest donations. And in 2010, to celebrate the Year of the Tiger, the theme park will send representatives to one of three tiger conservation locations around the world for in-field research for the very first time. The team hopes to bring back up-to-date information about the plight of the tiger to further educate Dreamworld guests.
“We support anti-poaching patrols in three countries and the money raised from tiger activities goes to helping us fight as much as we can for preservation,” said Tiger Island’s Patrick.
The Bundaberg-based kids agreed that the chance to meet Mohan was amazing and it had left them feeling a sense of responsibility to help raise awareness for preservation.
Maximus Smith said, “I was scared, because I saw its claws but then I got nearer and it was okay. Now that I’ve seen a tiger up close I don’t want to destroy the land or their habitat.”
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