Auburn University, Clemson University, Louisiana State University and the University of Missouri want their mascot to roar forever.
That's why they are joining forces to form the Tigers United University Consortium, committed to saving wild tigers worldwide.
According to best estimates, there are fewer than 3,900 tigers remaining in the wild.
The reasons for dwindling populations are varied.
Major issues include loss of tigers' natural habitats and poaching, which affects the 13 tiger range countries.
The Tigers United University Consortium was initiated by Clemson University President James P. Clements, who also serves on the Global Tiger Initiative Council. Comprised of business and conservation leaders, this international council assists the Global Tiger Forum in saving remainig populations of wild tigers, with a goal of doubling tiger numbers in the wild by 2022, which is the next Year of the Tiger in the Chinese calendar.
Through the consortium, the four universities combine their expertise in academic disciplines important to tiger conservation and protection—wildlife management, engineering, environmental science, conservation social science, veterinary medicine, communications, and eco-tourism, to name a few. With more than one university approaching the problem, the odds of success increase.
The four universities are concentrating their tiger conservation efforts in four areas:
creating the next generation of environmental leaders in the 13 tiger range countries through existing graduate programs and on-the-ground professional development
conducting research that supports evidence-based decision making by conservation professionals in tiger range countries
applying cutting-edge technologies that allow innovative approaches to wildlife conservation challenges
raising awareness of the issue with worldwide stakeholders