The World Celebrates World Tiger Day
Global Tiger Day is celebrated every year on July 29th as a way to raise awareness about this magnificent but endangered big cat. The day was founded in 2010, when the 13 tiger range countries came together to create Tx2 – the global goal to double the number of wild tigers by the year 2022.
2016 marks the halfway point of this ambitious goal and this year has been one of the most united and exciting Global Tiger Days yet. WWF offices, organisations, celebrities, government officials, families, friends and individuals around the world came together in support of the #ThumbsUpForTigers campaign – showing the tiger range countries that there is worldwide support for tiger conservation efforts and the Tx2 goal.
Take a look through the countries below for some of the Global Tiger Day highlights around the world.
"Doubling tigers is about tigers, about the whole of nature - and it's also about us" - Marco Lambertini, Director General WWF
Last year, Bhutan conducted its first ever national tiger survey and released the result (103 wild tigers) on Global Tiger Day 2015. This Global Tiger Day has seen some more exciting news from the Himalayan country: a wild tiger has been photographed in Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary (BWS) – an area where wild tigers haven’t been found in for nearly two decades! Bhutan showed immense support for the #ThumbsUpForTigers campaign, with people across the country eager to show their support for Tx2 goal to double wild tiger numbers.
This Global Tiger Day, results from a tiger monitoring study conducted in Bardia National Park in the Terai Arc Landscape of Nepal were released – showing an increase in tiger numbers. To mark the day, in Kathmandu, the government together with WWF Nepal, National Trust for Nature Conservation and Zoological Society of London organized a panel discussion focusing on the scientific, societal and economic rationale behind protecting tigers, including the need to address wildlife crimes. The panel comprised representatives from the local community, Nepal Army, Nepal Police, tourism and infrastructure development sectors, and the government.
"Nepal has achieved zero poaching of rhinos over several years, but the threats from poaching and illegal wildlife trade still loom large over Nepal’s tiger conservation efforts. It is the Tx2 goal that guides us through these challenges to ensure this iconic species is better protected, so we can save all by saving just one" - Ghana Gurung, WWF-Nepal Senior Conservation Program Director
Following the extinction of tigers from Java and Bali in the past century, Indonesia’s wild tigers are now found solely on the island of Sumatra. With less than 400 tigers left in Sumatra and an IUCN classification of critically endangered, urgent action is needed to protect this magnificent species. This Global Tiger Day saw events in both the capital city, Jakarta, and across the island of Sumatra with people around Indonesia showing passionate support for tiger conservation and the Tx2 goal.
An exhibition of 371 papier mâché tigers was held in one of the biggest malls in the capital of Jakarta, representing the number of wild tigers left in Indonesia. Senayan City Mall donated six camera traps in support of conservation work to protect the Sumatran tiger.
In Central Sumatra, an outdoor event was held to educate the public about the importance of law enforcement work against wildlife crime, and garner support for the cause. The event was filled with activities such as a drawing competition, an introduction to the use of camera traps, and even a photo selfie contest with pictures taken from camera traps during the event.
The celebration in Aceh was marked by a gathering of youths at the Baiturahman Grand Mosque monument in Banda Aceh. With their faces painted with tiger stripes, the youth called for the protection of the Sumatran tiger. Some also donned tiger masks, read poetry and performed a flashmob and invited members of the public to give their #ThumbsUpForTigers.
Malaysia’s tigers are critically endangered, with as few as 250 remaining. This Global Tiger Day, WWF-Malaysia and Maybank hosted an exhibition to raise awareness about the plight of Malaysia’s national animal – and the efforts undertaken to strengthen the protection of wild tiger populations in the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex. The public were invited to pledge their support with their finger prints and the final artwork was unveiled on Global Tiger Day at the Maybank Head Quarters in Kuala Lumpur.
"Malaysia’s tigers have been pushed to the brink of extinction by poaching, habitat loss, forest degradation and fragmentation. The Malayan Tiger is now classified as a ‘Critically Endangered’ species under the IUCN Red List. We need to combine our efforts at full force to double the number of tigers in the wild." Dr Dionysius S.K. Sharma, WWF-Malaysia CEO
India is home to over half of the world’s wild tigers – an estimated 2,226. Global Tiger Day was observed across all WWF tiger landscapes with much fervor and enthusiasm. The teams organized week-long celebrations to build awareness on tiger conservation and develop a stronger bond between wildlife and people. Thousands of local communities and young minds were encouraged to take up conservation issues and spare a thought for the ‘tiger’.
A total of almost 4,000 individuals, comprising people from all age groups, were reached out to during this year’s celebrations across Satpuda Maikal, Sundarbans, Terai Arc, Western Ghats Nilgiris and Western India Tiger Landscapes. The Thumbs Up For Tigers campaign was organised across all locations where showed their support and commitment for doubling the number of wild tigers.
No evidence of tigers have been recorded in Cambodia since 2007 so tigers are considered functionally extinct in this country. However, WWF-Cambodia is supporting the Government of Cambodia’s plans to reintroduce tigers. To commemorate Global Tiger Day, an event was held at the AEON Mall. The event featured an exhibition about tigers, and a ranger sharing about the important work that they do. WWF-Cambodia also organised a video competition to raise awareness about the importance of forest and wildlife conservation.
There is evidence of tigers returning and breeding in Northeast China. The country is currently conducting tiger surveys to gain an estimate of numbers. This Global Tiger Day, WWF-China joined forces with WWF-Russia to host a two-day festival in China. The festival played host to government officials, tiger experts and corporate delegations and involved presentations by officials, representatives from the nature reserves, and WWF offices. Small-group discussions between corporations and nature reserves about tiger conservation were held, and a field trip for corporate delegations was arranged.
DotAsia, a non-profit organisation and a Tx2 ambassador, was part of the four-day Asia Pacific Regional Governance Forum (APrIGF) in Taipei. DotAsia, alongside TRAFFIC East Asia and WWF, mobilised support for the Tx2 goal – to double the number of wild tigers in the world. The role of the internet as a platform for illegal wildlife trade was highlighted as a threat to tiger conservation. However, the importance of technology was also underscored as a helpful medium for tiger conservation, through the use of SMART technology and the assistance it provides to rangers in the field.