Monday, December 30, 2013

Kevin O' Day of SUNY-Cobleskill T4T: Expanding his passion of big cats

Kevin O'Day on far left with other members of T4T
Kevin O’Day is sophomore at SUNY-Cobleskill pursuing a degree in wildlife management. He is also the founder of SUNY-Cobleskill T4T. On December 29, 2013 he sits down with Sean Carnell to talk about the T4T at SUNY-Cobleskill.

Why does all of this matter to you? Why should the American public care about the conservation?

I think that conservation and endangered species are going to be one of the most important issues of the 21st century. If humans cannot learn to live with other species without destroying them, there is really no way that we are going to survive ourselves. I believe that college students have an opportunity to change the world and improve it for all its inhabitants.

How did you find out about Tigers for Tigers and get started?

I found out about Tigers for Tigers from one of my professors. He received an email from the National T4T Coalition last year. Because he know that I am into big cats, he thought that I would be interested in joining. I have always loved big cats, and from there, I started a club this year at SUNY-Cobleskill.

Initially, I wasn’t going to start a club until you contacted me about the importance of developing one on campus. It will make students more aware of the problem. At the beginning it was primarily my friends who I asked to join. Now we are working on expanding our club to other students across campus.

How has your Tigers for Tigers helped you pursue a career and has it helped you develop your passion?

It definitely has expanded my knowledge and interest in big cats. Before Tigers for Tigers, I was primarily interested in big cats in Africa. But getting into tigers, and gaining an understanding of the current situation, it has made me realize that there are more problems for big cats than I knew before. I definitely think that the T4T club will help raise awareness for tigers and help save them from extinction. Specifically for SUNY-Cobleskill, it will be good, because it is a local smaller school, it will provide opportunities for others to get a greater understanding of what is happening in the world outside of New York.

Personally, I believe that the coalition will also allow me to get professional connections, which may help me get a job after college. 

What are your plans after college?

I plan on moving to the Congo rainforest and working in a wildlife park there because I personally believe that it needs the most help in terms of protecting wildlife.

That sounds incredible, although dangerous, very exciting! What are your plans for next semester with T4T?

Next semester, I want to start doing things. This semester we focused on starting our organization. Now, we can start working on fun activities and fundraisers to that people on our campus can become more engaged about tigers and learn how they can help.

Do you have any advice for T4T clubs that are starting out?

I definitely suggest that you find people that truly care and are interested in the issue. It is also important to develop a core group before you expand. In other clubs, you see them get too big too fast and die out because no one is really interested in the subject.

It that is a very important point to address. Developing a core group of students is key to starting an organization at your school. Do you think that Tigers for Tigers is making a difference for tigers?

The idea to get college students involved is great. Focusing on political action and Congress is definitely a way to make a difference to ensure that the people in power, who can make decisions, are aware of the problems faced by these endangered species.

College students are definitely able to influence policy decisions. Mobilizing passionate college students is a great way to maximize the effectiveness and staying power of any movement, especially those that can take advantage of their idealism. Compared to older adults who have other obligations like a job and mortgage to pay, college students, have little to lose and therefore are more likely to try to save a species in a far-off land.

Can you tell us a little bit about your experience meeting with Senators and Representatives in Congress from our trip to Washington DC in June with the National Wildlife Refuge Association and the International Fund for Animal Welfare? What was it like?

Going to Washington D.C was a great experience for me. Although the members of Congress and their staff were unaware of the policies that we were there to talk to them about, they seemed genuinely interested in what we had to say and were willing to lend their support to our issues.  It was very inspiring to learn that members of Congress are very receptive to the idea of mobilizing college students to save tigers from extinction and that the coalition has the ability to make a significant positive difference in this endeavor.

About Us:
Students at SUNY Cobleskill have decided to start a Tigers for Tigers club and join the National Tigers for Tigers Coalition because we believe that we have an obligation to save our majestic mascot in their time of need. By raising awareness about the plight of tigers in the wild, we hope to mobilize the public to take responsibility of mankind’s actions and reverse the fortunes of tigers in the wild.

To learn more information about the SUNY Cobleskill Tigers for Tigers, follow us on Facebook and Twitter or email Kevin O’Day at

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sitting down with Lindsey Harvey of LSU T4T

Lindsey Harvey, the founder of LSU Tigers for Tigers sits down with us to talk about her experience starting a Tigers for Tigers club, pursuing her career path and gives advice to new Tigers for Tigers clubs.  Lindsey Harvey is currently pursuing a veterinarian degree from LSU.

Lindsey Harvey and Mike the mascot
How did you go about starting Tigers for Tigers at LSU?

Well I was on WWF’s website and I heard about the Tigers for Tigers challenge that they had years ago and I saw that Clemson, Missouri and Auburn were on it in which people could donate money in their honor to tiger conservation.

I noticed that LSU didn’t have a Tigers for Tigers club. That didn’t make any sense to me. So I decided to go ahead and make it a club! It was a very long process, it took about a year and a half to get it finalized and recruit members. I have to thank other student organizations for putting me in this direction.

Would you give any advice to other Tigers for Tigers clubs that are just starting out?

It is hard to start an organization and I know that I got disappointed when no one would show up to our meetings except for the officers. That may discourage you, but you have to keep at it. It will take a while for your organization to gain recognition on campus and get big. I promise that it will get better.

What impact do you think that you have had in the community?

We hope to help LSU students, and members within our community understand the issue of tigers in captivity and tigers as pets. That is the main issue that we try to focus on, considering that LSU has a tiger is on our campus named Mike. Many students believe that we are trying to get rid of Mike, but that is not the case. He has a great home, one of the best tiger habitats in the country. We want to help people understand that are not trying to get rid of all tigers in captivity, just those who consider them as pets and are in unfortunate conditions.

 We are also trying to save wild tigers. We want to make sure that we will always have a tiger as our mascot. What is the point of having a tiger as your mascot if there are not tigers in the wild?

You have a pretty awesome story about pursuing vet school. Could you tell us more about it?

I never actually wanted to go to vet school until I started getting involved with Tigers for Tigers and I realized how amazing these animals are. That was when I switched from pursing medical school to vet school. I want to help save these animals.

I am still in the process of trying to figure out how I can do the job that I want. I might have to make my own career out of it. My current plan is to do pathology for conservation efforts or go into surgery and assist these animals within sanctuaries.

But, what has been nice, is that I have been able to bring over Tigers for Tigers into the vet school and educate the students about tigers and our activities. Some of the students attend our meetings regularly.

I do get to hangout with Dr. Baker a lot. He is Mike’s vet. He is such a big supporter of us.

Your most recent activity consisted of making an edible cake for Mike. What was that all about? 

We designed an edible cake for Mike on behalf of LSU Tigers for Tigers to generate awareness about tiger conservation and to promote the Save Vanishing Species Stamp. It was also a great way to get our members interested in Tigers for Tigers.

We had a unique opportunity to learn about Mike and tour the facility with Dr. Baker. We learned about the history of Mike and LSU, Mike’s diet, the cost to take care of Mike. It was really awesome, and it was great to have Dr. Baker’s support. It was great opportunity for our members to learn about the cost of taking care of Mike and everything that goes on behind the scenes.

What are some of your plans for next semester?

Next semester we are planning a fundraiser at a local restaurant. We hope to have Mike our mascot, not the real tiger but the one in the costume, participate in the event. People would be able to interact with our mascot and raise money for tigers.

We are also planning a trip to volunteer at a local big cat sanctuary called Yogie and Friends. This facility is non-breeding and does not allow people to interact directly with the animals. We are really looking forward to that and giving back to our community.

About Us:
Tigers for Tigers LSU, founded in 2011, has striven to provide aid and raise awareness to save wild tigers. The organization has attempted to spread the urgency of the tiger situation to the Baton Rouge community with great strides.

To learn more information about the LSU Tigers for Tigers, visit Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  

Monday, October 28, 2013

“Tigers live in Africa, right?”

“Tigers live in Africa, right?” Yes and no shouts fill the room. “Do they…,” I ask again.  Confused children begin to debate. Do tigers live in Africa?"

This is just one of the many questions we ask children during a Cubs for Cubs presentation. Cubs for Cubs is a program developed by the Tigers for Tigers club here at Clemson. The goal is to inform grade-school aged children about the plight of tigers and tigers in America. Many of these children have no idea about the tiger’s current endangered state, and the teachers seem surprised to hear such a low number of wild tigers existing too. Our goal is to change that, we want everyone to know that our wild tigers are dying, and we want them to help stop it.

Diane Dotson and Madeleine McMillan (left) of Clemson T4T speak to elementary school students about tigers.  
Many of the kids even have cub encounter stories, and are even more surprised to find out how these captive animals treated. IFAW provides our Cubs for Cubs program with stuffed animal tigers that we present to the class as their very own tiger. We do this to emphasize the fact that tigers are to be admired of course, but to discourage the support of cub-petting industries and owning tigers as pets. We stress the fact that it is best to leave tigers in the wild, but if they are already captive, in accredited zoos that have the proper funding and equipment to take care of these majestic giants.

A typical Cubs for Cubs visit to an elementary school or after school program consists of a fun and informative PowerPoint presentation, an educational video from IFAW, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and then a short, answer-out-loud quiz that reviews all the information that has been presented. We are always impressed with the amount of information these children retain as they answer the questions correctly.

My favorite part of the presentation is when we ask the children what we can do to save the tigers. It gives us hope for the tiger’s future to hear how passionate these children are by just listening to their solutions for saving the wild tiger. We get the usual, “protect them,” answer that is absolutely correct, but a lot easier said than done. One child’s question to a Tigers for Tigers member Trey Riedmayer, was our best response yet. “Why can’t we just kill them?” Startled, Trey asked the child to repeat his question. “Why can’t we just kill the poachers,” the child asked with his intentions in the right place. “It’s just not that easy,” answered Trey. We then tell the children how we can stop supporting the poacher’s deeds and how we should tell others to not buy tiger parts, which will hopefully put them out the business. The children give such inspiring answers on how to save the tiger, that we are instantly rewarded for all our hard work. The children get it, now why can’t everyone else?

Cubs for Cubs would like to give thanks to IFAW for providing us with the educational video that the children we visit always enjoy. Also for the stuffed animals tigers that help reiterate the point of not supporting cub industries or tigers as pets. Another thank you to Northside Elementary School for being so inviting to our club  by letting us visit twice already and already planning another visit. Lastly, I would like to personally thank all members, present and past, of Clemson University Tigers for Tigers for supporting Cubs for Cubs as we work to become a well established and respected program that raises awareness of Tigers in the wild and in America. Thanks to everyone who has taken part in Cubs for Cubs presentations. 

Diane Dotson
Clemson Tigers for Tigers

Monday, October 21, 2013

From one passion to another

Recently, I have changed my major from pre-veterinary studies towards animal conservation, because I have discovered something about myself that has changed everything. It took the effort of a 10-hour drive and a group of people to show me the importance of animal conservation for me to realize it.

Ever since I was young, I have been in love with elephants. Their magnificent enormity, unimaginable intelligence, and their ever-caring social groups entranced my imagination. It became clear to me that no matter what I did in my life, elephants had to be involved. Thus, how I latched on to being a wildlife veterinarian. This has been my goal for a very long time, with my mind never wavering until now.

When I participated in an internship in January with the Ocean Mammal Institute, my mind began to open a door I had never knocked on before. Shortly afterwards I was offered an opportunity to travel to South Carolina to check out a tiger conservation group, we all know as Tigers 4 Tigers. While there, I suddenly felt so passionate about the issues being brought to light and a new sense of purpose. I left there with a small seed of tiger conservation planted in my head that kept growing all summer long.

I began to realize that this was more than just a crush I had on tiger conservation. It was a full-fledged commitment. Never before had I felt that I was contributing to the world more than I do now. Once I understood the ramifications that we as people could have upon wildlife; being a veterinarian didn’t feel needed anymore. I felt that elephants and tigers didn’t need more veterinarians; they needed more people to fight for them. This is exactly how I feel about all wildlife and being a part of this organization has let me do just that – fight for justice in the animal world.

In short, this is what made me decide to change my major to animal conservation. I have taken an important step in my life that I could not have done without Tigers for Tigers. Now that I’m finally here, I feel empowered and committed to reach my new goals.

Chelsea Connor
Towson University T4T 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Journey to India

I never thought a trip to another country would have the power to actually change my life. I thought that was just something people claimed to happen to them, and then their life went back to being the same again a few weeks after they returned home. My trip to India proved me wrong.

In my sophomore year in college at Clemson University I had the privilege to travel to India during spring break through a class called Biodiversity and Conservation in India. In India I would have the opportunity to learn about and see the wildlife there firsthand, and hopefully – hopefully – see at least one of the remaining 3,200 tigers remaining in the wild.

At the beginning of that year I had joined Clemson’s Tigers for Tigers organization as a Philanthropy Officer, having a passion for wildlife, although my life plan was to study neuroscience and potentially become a neurosurgeon. I never expected a little one-and-a-half week trip to India would change that for me.

My imagination never could have prepared me for what happened while I was in India. We were riding in a Jeep through the forest when we saw it. A tiger. She was just lying in the road in front of us like we didn’t even exist as the Jeep pulled slowly up until we were what had to be no more than 15 feet away. We must have watched her there for only a few minutes, but it felt like an eternity. The sheer size and power she embodied were unequivocal. At one point she looked right at us, staring. Relaxed, not terrified of us, of us who are destroying her land, her future, but also of us, who are doing all we can to help, doing all we can to give her a future. All I could think was how incredible this moment was; how absolutely once-in-a-lifetime it was.

From that moment on I knew I was not here to study neuroscience. I knew I was here to fight for conservation.

So I came back, fighting with full-fledge passion for tigers through Tigers for Tigers, becoming Vice President and helping to begin the National Tigers for Tigers Coalition and host its first annual summit, whose sole mission is to improve the status of tigers through the collaboration of students at tiger-mascot schools across the nation.

My trip to India changed my life path. You just can’t look into the eyes of a tiger in the wild and not expect your life to change.

Carmony Adler, 

Clemson Alumna 2013
Former Clemson T4T Vice President
India Spring Trip - 2011

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The trip that changed my life

Two and a half years ago, I stepped off of the plane after a fourteen-hour flight into the unfamiliar country of India. The air was thick and full of smog, vehicles were flying in all directions, and hundreds of people of various nationalities surrounded our group. At this point, I was not exactly sure what I had gotten myself into, but decided it was time to take a chance.

Since my freshman year at Clemson, I had been medical school bound, taking all of the prerequisites and completing an internship with the Greenville County Medical Examiner.  I had taken the MCAT and completed my medical school applications. However, my life changed when I signed up for a class called Conservation and Biodiversity of India. What set this course apart from the other biological science courses offered was the trip to India over our spring break. Not only would I be introduced to a new culture, I would have the chance to observe Bengal tigers in the wild, most likely a once in a lifetime opportunity. The fact that I could potentially see first hand one of the remaining 3,200 tigers was overwhelming.

After the time spent in the jungles and the brief tiger sightings, I realized how important our efforts as an organization, and even my individual efforts, were in the conservation of these animals. My experiences in India completely altered my view of the world and how I could go about changing it.  Instead of medical school, I decided to pursue a career in law at the University of South Carolina School of Law, especially focusing on environmental law and policy.  Being in India established a strong desire to strive to promote and spread the importance of conservation, especially focusing on the Bengal tigers.  I believe that working with the conservation laws and policies will help get us one step closer to preserving our tigers.

Haley Kernell

Clemson ‘12

Thursday, July 18, 2013

NT4TC Blog #2

Hello everyone. Since the last post NT4TC has been very busy. We are now expanding our campaign to ensure the re-authorization of the Tiger Stamp before the end of the Congressional fiscal year on September 31st by putting up posters in our local post offices. Buying a Tiger Stamp for only 9 cents more than a standard stamp is a great way to help save tigers in the wild. Since it was created in September of 2011, more than 21 million stamps have been sold, generating more than $2 million in funds to the save tigers and other endangered species. Not only does the stamp allow ordinary citizens to help save tigers but it also shows how much Americans care these beautiful and majestic creatures. You can help NT4TC’s campaign to re-authorize the Tiger stamp by buying the stamp at your local post office or and going to the take action page of our website: where you can contact your Congressional representatives by signing the Wildlife Conservation Society’s letter. NT4TC will be sending a press release out to newspapers across the country to raise awareness and support for the stamp in the near future so be on the lookout for that.
      We would also like to let you know about some exciting news. Two weeks ago, during his trip to Africa, President Obama issued an executive statement increasing America’s support in combating the international poaching plague that is ravaging animals throughout the world. In his executive order, Obama pledged $10 million and established a taskforce within the US government to develop a plan to dismantle the illegal wildlife trade throughout the world. According to Obama the executive order was needed because “the survival of protected wildlife species such as elephants, rhinos, great apes, tigers, sharks, tuna, and turtles has beneficial economic, social, and environmental impacts that are important to all nations.” This is great news for tigers and may help the NT4TC’s campaign to transfer $50 million to the USFWS’ Multinational Species Conservation Fund. You can read the full executive order at and express your support for his actions by mailing him a letter thanking him for showing leadership in conserving endangered species throughout the world including our beloved tiger. Hopefully, Obama’s actions will inspire Congress to follow his lead and approve the $50 million transfer to maximize the impact of campaign against wildlife trafficking.
In other exciting news, NT4TC national coordinator Sean Carnell has been given funding that will allow him to work full time for the coalition. Sean got a job as an advisor for the National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA). His leadership has been instrumental in creating the national coalition and will guide us as we grow in size and influence.

      We have begun our social media campaign to educate and inform people about tigers and the work that the coalition and other great organizations are doing to protect them. We have learned that the all-star game start by Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer, a graduate of the University of Missouri and big supporter of tiger conservation, has had an amazing season going 13-1 so far this season. Max was given the honor of starting the all-star game, which the AL won 3-0. Not only is Max Scherzer a supporter of saving tigers, so is his team, the Detroit Tigers, who have shown support to re-authorize the Tiger Stamp! 

     Check out our updated website with lots of new features and videos to inform anyone interested in the coalition and remember to like us on Facebook or follow us on twitter (if you haven’t already) for up to the minute information about the coalition.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Welcome to the National Tigers for Tigers Coalition!

Blog #1: June, 2013

Chelsea Connor with Doc, Towson MD
Welcome! My name is Chelsea Connor and I joined Tigers for Tigers (T4T) this year when I participated in the first National Tigers for Tigers Coalition in April. I am from Towson University, home of our tiger mascot Doc, as a pre-vet and animal behavior major. I was thrilled when another pre-vet major, and friend of mine, told me about T4T. Being in South Carolina to see other schools and students so excited to get involved was empowering and really confirmed my reasons for wanting to help save animals. Plus, being a proud Towson Tiger myself, I felt some responsibility to help our tiger mascot Doc during his time of need just like his has lifted my spirits at games. I mean, I don’t just paint tiger stripes on my face, wear black and gold or roar the fiercest roar I can manage for nothing. I do it, because the tiger symbolizes more than a mascot to me, it symbolizes a sense of being. We show pride, a majestic presence and respect towards our fellow competitors, but we also work hard to show our fierce teeth and our loud roar so our challengers know who’s going to win in the end. So I’m here because I owe it to my mascot, my school and myself to repay the honor of being a tiger every day. If we don’t fight for them, who will? Just like the tiger we are beautiful, powerful, and brave and we will earn our stripes.

"Real Life, Real Learning", Cobleskill, NY
My name is Kevin O’Day. I joined NT4TC earlier this year as a freshman at SUNY Cobleskill. For as long as I can remember, I have always loved big cats. In fact, I chose to attend Cobleskill because it has a tiger as a mascot, even before I knew about NT4TC. The coalition is important to me because it allows me to help save endangered wildlife while still in college. All species have the right to exist but saving tigers is especially important because they are so critically important to the ecological and cultural health of Asia and the world. I believe that if we as a species are unable to save tigers from extinction, we will have little hope of solving any of the problems that face us in the future and that NT4TC will be successful if we are able to motivate and mobilize the youth to take charge of their future and save this magnificent species. In order to expand the coalition I will be establishing a Tigers 4 Tigers Club at Cobleskill next semester.

The National Tigers for Tigers Coalition is a student led organization dedicated to the existence of our majestic, but endangered mascot, the tiger. Currently, we are formed from a collaboration of student groups of 12 tiger mascot colleges and universities from across the country with more to add. Through education, outreach and international programs, Tigers for Tigers works to utilize the power, creativity, and motivation of college students. The collaborative effort of the National Tigers for Tigers Coalition is focused on developing initiatives that reach a national scale to save the tiger from extinction.

This week 12 members of the National Tigers 4 Tigers Coalition went to Washington D.C. on June 12th and 13th, where we met with staff of congressmen and lobbied for the passage of the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act (H.R.1998), which would ban private ownership of big cats throughout America. We also lobbied for the transference of $50 million from the State Department, USAID to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to tackle the poaching crisis that is threatening the current existence of the tigers. Lastly, we advocated for the re-authorization of the Save Vanishing Species Stamp, which brings additional money into the USFWS to support endangered species protection efforts.

Meeting with Missouri's Legislative Assistant
One of the surprising facts that we learned during our trip was that the wildlife trade is a significant threat to the security of nations around the globe. Rhino horn is the most valuable substance on the planet followed by tiger bone, and elephant ivory. Together, these items are being used to fund terrorist organizations. With huge price tags on these wild animals, drug, arms or terrorist syndicates have prepared and trained poachers to do their dirty work, showing us how easy it is to kill even with law enforcement officials protecting the area. Clearly, there is a need for more officers who are trained, prepared and aware of the situation to even the playing field. Until then, when these terrorist organizations get tiger parts, rhino horn or ivory in their hands they sell it to Chinese markets in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars that can be used to fund attacks on America or other countries across the world. One example of this is Al Qaeda in North Africa, which is funded largely through elephant ivory.

Meeting with Louisiana's Legislative Assistant
Photo with Senator Tim Scott, South Carolina
Do not let these unfortunate facts get the best of you though. While in D.C., the congressmen seemed very receptive to the idea of a bipartisan vote for the protection of tigers and we are likely going to be returning next month to talk with more congressmen for more support. You can also help us out by writing your own tiger letter to let your congressmen know about this dire situation! Remember your congressmen works for you! So let him or her know what is important to you. We can only save the tiger with your help, your friend’s help, your family’s help and even your pet cat Fluffy’s help. To get more involved, join us on facebook and follow us on twitter to learn more about this issue. Our website also contains information on tigers, awareness and involvement that you can easily access to answer any questions you have. Together we can be a more powerful force than the poachers could ever be. But in order for that to happen we need to stick together, spread the word, write to our congressmen and continue to fight for the most majestic animal in the Asian forests.

Save the Tigers,
Chelsea L. Connor (Towson University, MD)
Kevin O’Day (SUNY Cobleskill, NY)
National Tigers for Tigers Coalition