Monday, April 28, 2014

Colorado College Tigers for Tigers gives back to their local community

On our first volunteer trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in the fall of 2013, we had a discussion towards the end of the day about the challenges of being a zookeeper for the big cats. A lot of energy was put into providing enrichment activities, but they did offer a way we could help. One activity that the tigers loved, but which took too much time for the keepers, was making deer-shaped “piƱatas” out of cardboard and paper mache. At Colorado College Tigers for Tigers, this sparked an idea.

Using cardboard boxes from the mail room, used paper towel and toilet paper roles from members houses, and a balloon, we constructed the skeleton of a deer. Because we couldn't use any processed parts, we used paper mache (newspaper dipped in a thick mixture of flour and water) to stick the parts together. We then removed the balloon, and took it to campus to show it off to the rest of the student body. To help raise awareness about our club on campus, and for the Big Cats and Public Safety Act, we set up a table outside our student center and allowed people to decorate the deer, and in exchange they would sign a letter there in support of the Act to be sent to one of our two Colorado Senators. Through this process, we sent 50 letters to Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennett, and raised awareness about tigers in America in the process.

In March, we were finally able to take our Deer Pinata to the Cheyenne Mountain zoo for one of their tigers to enjoy. For the final prep, we stuffed the inside with Giraffe hay, since the tigers greatly enjoy novel scents. We also smeared meat around the outside of the box and attached it to a zipline that would swing it out over the tiger exhibit. Watching Grom, the tiger, destroy the deer was amazing. We got to see his stalking and attack skills, and to see how happy he was to roll around in the hay after the deer had been torn to shreds was incredible. To know that we as Colorado College students are able to provide that much direct help for the tigers is a special feeling, and we all left the zoo that day feeling very satisfied with our work.

Check out our video of Grom destroying our deer by clicking here.

For more information about Colorado College Tigers for Tigers, please visit our facebook page or send us an email at

Are you inspired by this story? Send us an email at to find out what you can do to help tigers and support your local zoo. 

Nathan Hahn
National T4T Coalition Liaison
Colorado College Tigers for Tigers

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

University of Missouri hosts 2nd Annual Summit on April 4-6th

I am excited to share the proceedings of the 2nd Annual Summit of the National Tigers for Tigers Coalition on April 4-6, 2014 with you all! Representatives from nine T4T schools across the nation, including Louisiana State University, Clemson University, Trinity University, Colorado College, Rochester Institute of Technology, SUNY-Cobleskill, Towson University, the University of South Carolina, and the University of Missouri joined together in Columbia, MO to discuss how to build successful Tigers for Tigers clubs, promote education and awareness initiatives, build local partnerships with zoos and sanctuaries, and  support policy reform efforts.

Over the course of the weekend, we enjoyed presentations from five distinguished speakers. Tracy Coppola, the Campaigns Officer for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, talked to us about the progress of the Big Cat and Public Safety Protection Act (H.R. 1998/S.1381), and what we can do to raise awareness about the bill and lend our support. Saturday morning we had a presentation by Dr. Tara Harris, the Minnesota Zoo Director of Conservation and Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP). Dr. Harris reminded us of the great work of the late Dr. Ron Tilson, who spoke at last year’s summit, and talked about the status of zoo tigers. She also explained to us how zoos are working to ensure the success of wild populations of tigers. I encourage you to look into the Tiger Conservation Campaign, which was recently launched by the Tiger SSP to raise awareness about the plight of wild tigers, as well as funds for conservation efforts. Dr. Eric Dinerstein, who was previously Lead Scientist and Vice President of Conservation Science at the World Wildlife Fund, is currently working on a new conservation start-up known as WildTech with the NGO Resolve. He focused his presentation on the promising future of technology in conservation efforts particularly to address problems with poaching. Saturday evening, Hemanta Kafley, who is an MU Ph.D. candidate completing his research on tigers in Nepal, spoke to us about his research and his personal experiences as a native of Nepal. Mr. Kafley reminded us that the human side of conservation issues needs to be considered while working to save tigers. Tim Harrison of Outreach for Animals finished off our weekend with an extremely informative presentation about private ownership of tigers in America and the complications it creates for first responders. We are extremely grateful to have had these tiger experts in attendance at our summit and to have had the opportunity to learn from them.

I would also like to recognize our honorary guests who were in attendance at the event. Many of these individuals participated in our workshops and shared their perspectives on how we can be more impactful as an organization.
·         Mike Crocker, Director of Dickerson Park Zoo
·         Jeri Wright, Program Coordinator and Keeper at Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary
·         Caroline Aldenderfer, Keeper at Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary
·         Valerie Conaway, Keeper at Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary
·         Bonnie Glover, Promotions/Education Program Coordinator at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge
·         Bill Nimmo, Tigers in America
·         Aryuna Radnaeva, Coordinator of the Center for Development of Ecological and Social Projects in Moscow
·         Lyubov Volkova, Lecturer in Ecological Management at St. Petersburg State Economics University
·         Anna Zavadskaya, Staff Scientist at Kronotsky Nature Reserve in the Russian Far East
·         Dr. Leslie Lyons, Cat Geneticist at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine
·         Bruce Loewenberg, Member of the MU Alumni Association
·         Gale Douglas, Member of the MU Alumni Association

A huge thank you to all of these individuals! I would also like to thank our donors: the National Wildlife Refuge Association, the MU School of Natural Resources, the MU Animal Science Department, the Ag Endowment Fund, the MU Organization Resource Group, Mr. Bruce Loewenberg, and Hy-Vee. We couldn’t have made this happen without their help.

Our break-out workshops were very successful this year. We had four groups discussing local T4T efforts, local relationships with organizations, education and awareness initiatives, and policy and legislation, as well as a fifth workshop for the steering committee. The results of the weekend are very encouraging! The Local T4T Efforts group discussed reasons to fundraise, how to get publicity for a fundraising event, types of fundraisers, and individual club goals. In regards to building stronger T4T clubs, they discussed the importance of regular meetings and how best to carry out those meetings, as well as recruitment, social and service activities, education programs, record-keeping, and officer positions. Lastly, they discussed methods to increase communication between clubs, highlighting the importance of the liaison position, a newsletter, and other methods of communication.

The local relationships group discussed how to build relationships within our universities as well as with zoos and sanctuaries. We wish to work effectively with our school’s alumni associations to raise funds locally and support our partners. T4T clubs also wish to  support students in research and internships, as this would provide us with more international opportunities and university support. .  As our universities move towards becoming more ecosystem friendly, we can work with our schools to increase the focus on mascot conservation. Perhaps the most exciting conversation to come out of this group involved creating a tiger mascot video using each school’s mascot. This video would be released on Global Tiger Day and would feature popular and diverse individuals within our schools who would stand up for tiger conservation.

The education and awareness group focused on public educational programs at individual schools, our Facebook Education Initiative, the Tiger Skit, and a week of tiger awareness at each T4T school. The action plan for this group includes setting a date for tiger awareness week in the fall, beginning plans for school events, filming individual school videos for a Public Service Announcement, creating a list of recommended zoos and sanctuaries along with the assistance of our partners, implementing individual school education programs, and increasing activity in the Facebook Education Initiative. We hope this will increase our outreach through various media sources.

The policy & legislation group set goals for the next year. In regards to the Big Cat and Public Safety Protection Act, we hope to have more letter writing campaigns both as a national coalition and as individual schools. One thing that is important is that these letters include a personal voice. Why are we as individuals interested in this act? Why do we care? Why does it matter to us as individuals as opposed to an organization? Another idea is to partner with sanctuaries and AZA zoos to send joint letters of support. Other important outcomes of this workshop include methods of improving campus involvement in policies that promote tiger conservation and the welfare of captive tigers. We hope to have an event on Global Tiger Day in which we all submit letters to Congress in order to draw attention to this issue. We wish to continue our support for the Administration’s National Strategy on Combating Wildlife Trafficking.  The steering committee focused on our successes as we have developed this organization. For example, the steering committee has grown as the number of schools involved has increased. We have also been successful in sharing and utilizing ideas, and our Education Initiative on Facebook has generated a considerable amount of attention from NT4TC members. Some challenges we hope to address are the difficulties of finding an efficient way for us all to participate in steering committee meetings, increasing transparency between clubs, the steering committee, and the National Coordinator, and defining clear objectives for what we wish to accomplish in set time periods. The steering committee successfully drafted an accountability policy and set short term and long term goals.

It took a lot of work to put this event together, but I believe it was successful and that our participants learned a lot and enjoyed themselves. I am extremely excited to see where the NT4TC goes from here! I hope we continue to grow in number and influence and that one day all 56 tiger mascot schools will participate. We are already a force to be reckoned with, and I look forward to seeing the plans we came up with during the summit come to fruition. Thank you for reading this entry! Go tigers!

Rhiannon Koehler
University of Missouri Tigers for Tigers
Vice President

For more information about the National Tigers for Tigers Coalition, please visit us on our website or on Facebook or Twitter.

For more information about the University of Missouri Tigers for Tigers, please visit us on our website or on Facebook or Twitter.

Monday, April 21, 2014

RIT Tigers for Tigers – mobilizing athletes for a cause

A little background on the Rochester Institute of Technology: Matt Miles is an executive board member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), which is a committee that promotes their athletic teams and encourages student-athletes to be more involved in the community. SAAC really liked the idea that they would be saving their mascot from extinction, especially since the athletes have such a strong tie to tigers. Overall, the SAAC decided to fundraise for tigers at the local Seneca Park Zoo and in the wild. RIT’s Tigers for Tigers (T4T) members are constantly working to spread awareness of the plight of their mascot around campus. Throughout the year, a couple of 5K races are held to do just that.

An annual 5K is held in the fall, the Brick City 5K, which is in honor of homecoming and all the festivities. To raise awareness of the newly developed initiative, T4T invited all RIT student-athletes to run with t-shirts displaying the National Tigers for Tigers Coalition’s logo.  This event turned out to be a huge success with over 140 student-athletes running and they raised $250.   Dr. Karey Pine, the Senior Director of the Center for Campus Life, provided the t-shirts and matched the initial contribution of athlete donations. This was also a very special kick-off event because Sean Carnell attended and gave a brief overview of national coalition’s mission at the start of the race.

A second 5K, the FreezeFest 5K, was held in the spring with over 200 participants. What made this year stand out from the previous years was that the goal of the race was to raise money for the Seneca Park Zoo and the Panthera – Save the Tiger Fund.  Originally, the FreezeFest proceeds have gone to RIT athletic teams. Amazingly, the goal was met, and all $925 from the race went towards the tigers.

Overall, RIT’s Tigers for Tigers has raised over $1000 this year!  Matt was ecstatic with the turn out of both events and the money raised in the process. Way to go RIT!For more information about RIT Tigers for Tigers, visit their facebook page to find out how you can get involved today. 

Want to see more photos from the event? Visit the National Tigers for Tigers Coalition's facebook page. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Clemson and USC join together for a fun trip at the Riverbanks Zoo

This past weekend, Clemson University and newly formed University of South Carolina Tigers for Tigers clubs join together for a fun day at the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, South Carolina. 

Clemson University Tigers for Tigers has had a fantastic relationship with Riverbanks Zoo over the years. Every year, Tigers for Tigers members are able to go backstage in some of the zoo exhibits to learn about the role of zoos in conservation efforts. It is a great opportunity for students to learn about training, animal husbandry and how zoos work together to maintain genetic diversity of various species.

This year the trip was offered to our newest Tigers for Tigers club at the University of South Carolina. Although they are rivals on the field, their passion for tigers can bring them together. We cannot wait to hear what is in store for University of South Carolina and Clemson University Tigers for Tigers in the years to come. 

Thank you Stacy Hitt and the staff at the Riverbanks Zoo for the opportunity.

Are you an alumni, faculty, staff, student or fan of Clemson University or University of South Carolina? Want to find out how you can make a difference for tigers? Email us at for more information.

Go tigers!
Sean Carnell
National Coordinator