Thursday, March 27, 2014

University of Missouri Tigers for Tigers to host 2nd Annual National T4T Summit

Did you know that there 56 tiger mascot colleges across the country but only 3200 tigers remaining in the wild? Tigers for Tigers utilizes the affinity that we share for our mascot to make a difference for tigers and develops student leaders.

It is that time of the year again, as the National Tigers for Tigers Coalition convenes for the 2nd Annual Summit on April 4-6th, 2014. We are thrilled to be hosting this year’s summit at the University of Missouri.

We will bring together students from across the country to learn about tiger conservation efforts and mobilize students to take action to #saveourmascot.

The students will hear presentations from some of the world’s leading experts in tiger conservation and will participate in breakout sessions to discuss educational initiatives, awareness campaigns and policy reform efforts.

Our guest speakers for the event will be:
  • Ms. Tracy Coppola, Campaign Officer of the International Fund for Animal Welfare
  • Dr. Tara Harris, Minnesota Zoo Director of Conservation and Tiger Species Survival Plan
  • Dr. Eric Dinerstein, WWF's Chief Scientist and Vice President Conservation Science
  • Mr. Hemanta Kafley, Ph.D Candidate, University of Missouri
  • Mr. Tim Harrison, Director of Outreach for Animals

It has been a fantastic year for the National Tigers for Tigers Coalition as we have grown from five to 14 clubs across the country in our first year. Every day, we are inspired by our students and their progress.

We are thrilled for this upcoming event. We would especially like to thank the University of Missouri Tigers for Tigers club for all of their efforts planning and organizing this great event. We would also like to thank the National Wildlife Refuge Association and the University of Missouri for their contributions.

Stay tuned!

Sean Carnell
National Coordinator
Tigers for Tigers

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Tigers for Tigers shares their thoughts to the Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking

We would like to follow up on our previous post regarding the public meeting with the Advisory Council for Wildlife Trafficking.

On March 20th, 2014, the Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking convened in Washington D.C. to take public comments on the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking. The National Tigers for Tigers Coalition was represented at the event and provided their suggestions to the Council. 

Overall it was a great experience, and I am thrilled by the recommendations provided by the sub-committees of the Advisory Council. If we can ensure that the recommendations matriculate into shift action, I’m very excited for the near future. I can’t wait to bring my experience back to the coalition and I believe that there are a lot of opportunities that we can take part in.

Since the previous meeting in December 2013, the Advisory Council has divided into four sub-committees to address various concerns. They are as follows:
  • Legal Framework and Reform
  • Enforcement
  • Communication and Advocacy
  • Public/Private partnerships

We would like to highlight a few critical recommendations.

Legal Framework and Reform:

In the United States, wildlife crime sits on the bottom of the totem pole in regards to criminal penalties. The current price of rhino horn is $60,000 per kilogram and the average sentencing for wildlife trafficking is only two months. So as you can imagine, the overall risk for criminal syndicates is extremely low.

To combat this issue, the sub-committee is recommending to modify multiple federal statutes that govern wildlife crime. This will increase the tools and resources available to the proper authorities to address the crisis and will place wildlife trafficking among other very serious criminal offences, like drug and sex trafficking.

In the near future, I believe that this is a great opportunity for the National Tigers for Tigers Coalition to get involved and to support these recommendations on Capitol Hill.


We also need to ensure that there is strict law enforcement, domestically and internationally. The enforcement committee recommended to modify the U.S. sentencing guidelines to increase the penalties and monetary fines for wildlife crimes, and to educate judges on the severity of wildlife crimes.

The United States also pays a very critical role in international enforcement. They are recommending an increase in collaborations and technical assistance with Wildlife Enforcement Networks like ASEAN-WEN, to direct future international undercover operations like Operation Cobra 2, and to work to disrupt kingpins on national and regional levels.

In regards to enforcement, it was great to hear that all of our recommendations provided in our public comments were being considered.

Communication and Advocacy:

“If there is one thing that the U.S. knows how to do, it is to affect consumer demand,” Carter Roberts, CEO of the World Wildlife Fund. We need to focus more on changing consumer behavior than just increasing awareness.

The sub-committee brought up the idea of a demand reduction Summit with professionals in social media, social and consumer behavior, physiologists and more to determine the best strategies to make the possession and use of illegal wildlife products “un-cool.”  Complimentary to the Summit, they recommended a round table of private and public companies within targeted sectors, like the transportation and food industry to develop collaborations.

Within our recommendations to the Council, we advised to work with organizations like WildAID to build effective digital media campaigns focused on demand reduction domestically and internationally.

Public/Private Partnerships:

The final sub-committee addressed the need to develop effective partnerships with the public and private sectors. The sub-committee was interested in addressing executives of the transportation industry, who may unknowingly, be contributing to wildlife trafficking. If we can develop effective codes of conduct policies and improve communications between these sectors and the government, we will have a greater understanding of the trade.


I believe that now is a very critical time for the United States to become a leader in addressing the wildlife crisis across the globe. The ultimate goal that we can all agree on is to reduce/eliminate demand for illegally traded wildlife parts. The initial recommendations provided by the Advisory Council is a great start in reducing demand and we are happy to play a role in the discussion.

All the best,
Sean Carnell

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

National Tigers for Tigers Coalition provides input on the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking in Washington D.C.

Wildlife trafficking and poaching are major threats to the endangered species and the security of the United States.  International crime syndicates and terrorist groups are able to generate billions of dollars every year from the illegal wildlife trade.  To tackle this global problem, one cohesive and powerful strategy that starts in the U.S. is imperative. 

In June of 2013, Tigers for Tigers members traveled to Washington D.C. with the National Wildlife Refuge Association to talk to Senators about the poaching crisis and asked for an increase in appropriations to address our concerns.  

“It was quite an experience to meet with staffers, who happened to be close to our age. Many of them even attended tiger mascot colleges!” said Sean Carnell, National Coordinator for NT4TC.    

Two weeks after our visit, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, along with other Senators of Congress, sent a letter to President Obama to inquire about what the Administration was doing to address the poaching crisis.

In July 2013, President Obama issued an Executive Order (E.O.) to combat wildlife trafficking during his trip to Africa. The goal of the E.O. was to enhance and coordinate U.S. efforts to address the major impacts to wildlife caused by the continued rise of poaching and trafficking. The E.O. established the Presidential Task Force, co-chaired by the Secretary of State, Secretary of the Interior and the Attorney General. It also includes designated senior-level representatives from 15 other departments and agencies. The goal of the Task Force was to develop a national strategy that coordinated regional law enforcement to reduce poaching and illegal wildlife trade. 

The Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking was also formed in response to President Obama’s E.O., which advises and assists the Presidential Task Force.  Private-sector leaders, representatives of nonprofit organizations and former government officials comprise the 8-member council.

On February 11, 2014, the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking was released, focusing on three main goals: to strengthen enforcement, reduce demand for illegally traded wildlife, and expand international cooperation and commitment.  While the national strategy broadly addresses illegally traded wildlife and wildlife products, it particularly emphasizes the protection of African elephants and rhinos by banning the commercial trade of ivory.  This is a fantastic development and we saw a great opportunity for Tigers for Tigers to get involved.

Sean Carnell and Haley Kernell, Journalist Intern for Tigers for Tigers and law student at the University of South Carolina, with the advice and assistance of John Fitzgerald (attorney and advisor to Tigers for Tigers), Tracy Coppola (IFAW’s Campaign Officer and leader of the U.S. Big Cats in Captivity policy campaign), and Allan Thornton (Director of the Environmental Investigation Agency), wrote and submitted a public comments to ask questions and provide suggestions for the implementation of the national strategy.  

We want to know what the younger generation/American public can do to support the United States’ efforts to combat this wildlife crisis. Some of the suggestions we provided are as follows:
  • Address the plight of tigers within the national strategy
  • Increase law enforcement capacity and technical assistance within tiger range countries
  • Implement and improve sophisticated social media and P.R. campaigns in tiger range countries to reduce demand
  • Seek the Administration’s support for the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act (H.R.1998/S.1381)
  • Re-authorize the Save Vanishing Species Semi-postal Stamp
  • Address China’s captive tiger breeding facilities
Sean will attend the public meeting of the Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking on March 20, 2014 in Washington D.C. The meeting will address implementation of the national strategy as well as public comments.

"With the vast expertise and energy of the several dozen universities they represent, Tigers for Tigers has the potential to be one of the greatest additions to tiger conservation in a very long time. Their submission today for the President's team working on wildlife crime and their plan to present it in person taken together is strong evidence that things will be different for tigers now that T4T is here."  John Fitzgerald.

We are very thankful for all of the people who provided their input and guidance on this project. We can’t wait to hear the results of the meeting and Sean’s experience!  This is an exciting time for Tigers for Tigers.

View the National Tigers for Tigers Coalition's public comments here

For updates about the event and tomorrow’s meeting, follow us on twitter:

@T4T_Coalition #saveourmascot

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Tigers for Tigers initiates three new programs

Dear all,

We hope that you have been well. As we head into Spring, we would like to update you on our recent progress and new national initiatives. 

National Tigers for Tigers Coalition kicks off Generation Tiger program

Considering the recent poaching crisis, whether we are talking about rhinos, elephants, or tigers, these iconic species need all of the help that they can get. We wish to develop Tigers for Tigers as a model for other mascot schools to make a difference in the survival of its mascot. We wish to engage the younger generation and develop student leaders in conservation.

There are 56 tiger mascot colleges and universities across the country with estimates of around 470,000 enrolled students! As we work to engage students at each of these tiger mascot schools, we have received requests from non-tiger mascot schools to join us. We are excited to have them come along for the ride and make a difference.

We are thrilled to have Weber State, whose mascot is a “wildcat,” join us in our mission and kick off our Generation Tiger program. Generation Tiger is our new initiative to incorporate non-tiger mascot colleges and universities as we receive more requests. Weber State has recently formed their own club called Wildcats for Tigers and is currently underway recruiting new members and developing a local educational program on campus to engage students about tiger conservation. Way to go Wildcats!

Utilizing social media to educate our members across the country:

Next week, the National Tigers for Tigers Coalition will begin to implement an incentive based educational program via facebook to educate our members on topics related to tiger conservation. Every week, we will discuss a new topic of interest ranging from tiger ecology to U.S. strategies to combat wildlife trafficking by sharing articles and challenging our critical thinking. After every week, we will post an article of discussion on to our National Tigers for Tigers Coalition facebook page.

Improving collaboration among T4T clubs:

One of the challenges that we have been facing is to connect T4T club members and leaders to share their experiences for the benefit of other clubs. As a solution, we came together and developed an online closed forum for our members to communicate and share ideas. The goals are to increase collaborations and develop tool kits for students to grow and develop their respective organizations.

Donate to Tigers for Tigers

You can now donate to Tigers for Tigers by visiting our website. Our partner, the National Wildlife Refuge Association is acting as our fiscal agent as we progress forward. Money raised will be used for operational costs and provide our students with unique opportunities to travel to Washington DC to meet with members of Congress, host our 2nd National Summit, kick off our educational program and much more.

We thank you dearly for all of your support and we look forward to updating you soon on our progress.

All the best,

Sean Carnell
National Coordinator
National Tigers for Tigers Coalition

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Garner Elementary School empowers youth with Tigers for Tigers

Tigers for Tigers at Garner Elementary School was a natural fit since our mascot is the tiger and the tiger is embedded throughout the entire campus, from the tiger related street signs to the tiger tail trash containers, to the school’s behavioral expectations that start with the letters of the acronym R.O.A.R.

Our school’s club is a group of nine third and fourth grade STEAM students who excel in their academics and their behavior.  They meet on Tuesday afternoons to plan a strategy to raise awareness on campus of the plight of the tiger. 

After watching a video from the National Tigers for Tigers Coalition, the students were moved by the atrocities being committed against tigers all over the world. The boys and girls were particularly moved to learn that the Caspian and Javan tigers are already extinct and several more are vanishing from the face of the earth.

“I like the Tigers for Tigers club because we can help the tigers from going extinct. If tigers were to go extinct then my children wouldn’t be able to see the tigers in the wild.” –Ana 4th grade student.

After discovering that tigers were being slaughtered for their body parts in order for people to profit, the students were motivated to begin a series of events on campus to raise awareness and to make a difference.

At first, they targeted the student body, by creating posters and displaying them around campus.  They have worked diligently to produce age specific PowerPoint presentations that have been shown on the schools in house television station.

“ I like the Tigers for Tigers coalition because tigers are endangered and we need to do what we can to help save the tigers.” –Silvia 4th grade student

The students have filmed a commercial to be aired shortly to kick off their fundraiser. Concurrently, they have been painting gallon plastic milk jugs with tiger themes to use for their school wide fundraiser. “Quarters for Conservation” will encourage students, parents and teachers to donate quarters at milk jugs placed in classrooms throughout the school.  Funds will go to Tiger Trust India to promote educational outreach.

Future plans include a school wide “Tiger Day Festival” with fun filled tiger related activities.

We will also be working with members of the National Tigers for Tigers Coalition to improve their educational initiative, Cubs for Cubs, by which college students teach local elementary school students about the tigers.

Lastly we have planned a tentative trip planned to take the club members to Big Cat Rescue in nearby Tampa, Florida to see tigers up close and personal.

Ms. Amanda Crane,
4th Grade Teacher
STEAM Academy
Garner Elementary, Winter Haven FL

Josie Pirozzoli
3rd Grade Teacher
STEAM Academy
Garner Elementary, Winter Haven FL