A U.S. Tiger University Consortium has been formed to help in an effort to save wild tiger populations worldwide.
Universities involved are Auburn, Clemson, LSU and Missouri, all of which have a tiger as the school’s mascot.
According to a report on the Auburn University website, the Global Tiger Forum estimates there are only about 3,900 tigers remaining in the wild. According to Keshav Varma, chief operating office of the Global Tiger Initiative Council, the reasons for dwindling populations are varied. Major issues include deterioration of the tigers’ natural habitats and poaching, which affects the 13 countries in which tiger populations remain.
The report says two-thirds of the world’s tigers live in India, where numbers have increased during the past five years thanks to anti-poaching patrols and sustainable tourism initiatives. However, with other countries such as China, Vietnam and Laos reporting numbers in the single digits, the need for direct intervention is more dire than ever.
In the report, Brett Wright, dean of the Clemson University College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences, the dwindling tiger populations are an issue demanding the attention of land-grant institutions such as those belonging to the consortium.
The consortium was initiated by Clemson University President James P. Clements, who also serves on the Global Tiger Initiative Council. This international council made up of business and conservation leaders was formed to assist the Global Tiger Forum in saving remaining populations of wild tigers, with a goal of doubling tiger numbers in the wild by 2022.
In the report, Janaki Alavalapati, dean of the Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, says that with more than one university approaching the problem, the odds of success in saving tiger populations only increases.
For more information visit http://www.auburn.edu/.