Imagine our world without tigers.
If we fail to save these iconic cats from extinction the implications for biodiversity and the health of our planet are dire. We need people like you to help us train more vets to work on the conservation frontline and save these iconic big cats. Please SAVE the DATE and support our campaign.
Double your Gift. Double the Impact.
Your donation will be DOUBLED if you give what you can between 29 Nov and 6 Dec during the Big Give Christmas Challenge.Donate here
We are aiming to raise £30,000 which will train more vets to identify and tackle illness, treat injured tigers and safely reintroduce them to the wild.
So far we have £15,000 of match-funding available, thanks to the generosity of the Metamorphosis Foundation, The Gibbings Family Charitable Trust and The Reed Foundation.
Please click here to find out more about how The Big Give Christmas Challenge works.
Why are tigers in trouble?
Although some tiger populations are showing tentative signs of recovery, others are in decline, edging ever closer to extinction. None of them are out of the woods. Emerging disease and the continuing encroachment of humans into their territories pose fresh threats every day. In many tiger range states, there are no formal training opportunities for wildlife health professionals. People working on the conservation frontline have to learn on the job, often without anyone to support or guide them. The fact that local vets are rarely trained in wildlife medicine is often overlooked by traditional conservation partners and organisations.
Why do tigers matter so much?
As legendary apex predators, tigers are an ultimate indicator of ecosystem health. If we lose the tiger, we don’t just lose acultural icon. If we fail to protect the landscapes tigers need to thrive – from open grasslands and snow covered forest to coastal swamps – biodiversity will suffer. This affects people too – locally, regionally and globally.
Training more local vets to ensure a healthier future for tigers.DONATE NOW
Photo credit - Ksenia Goncharuk
The bigger picture
By protecting the tiger and their landscapes, we can help make these ecosystems more resilient to the effects of climate change – fires, winds, drought, flooding and landslides. A healthy ecosystem means the people who live in those areas are safer. At a regional level, these habitats contribute towards sustainable water supplies, food security and economic opportunities. On a global level, the conservation of the tiger and their landscapes can help mitigate CO2 levels, climate change and the emergence of zoonotic diseases.
Training for tiger anaesthesia in field conditions, China, 2017. Photo Credit: WCS
WVI has a long record of training local tiger vets, biologists and village response teams in how to immobilise tigers which may have been caught in humane research traps, inhumane poachers’ snares or cornered by frightened villagers. We have provided technical assistance at workshops in China, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Russia, as well as remote advice to many other tiger range states.
Preparing injured wild tiger cub for assessment, Primorsky Krai, Russian Far East. 2020. Photo credit - Ksenia GoncharukDONATE NOW
As humans encroach more on tiger territory, the risk of injury from wire snares (often set to trap other smaller animals) and poachers’ bullets increases, as do less visible threats like viruses and bacterial infections. With more animals pushed into smaller spaces, the potential for attacks from other tigers increases too. When numbers of an endangered animal are critically low, the survival of every single individual is important to saving the species. WVI trains vets in tiger range states in best rehabilitation practices, including anaesthetic and clinical techniques.
And disease can be a vicious circle. Once a tiger is suffering from canine distemper virus for example, its behaviour can change, making it even more likely to come into contact with people and their animals, as it loses its sense of fear, or is desperately hungry but unable to hunt wild prey effectively. Funds from this year’s Christmas Challenge will support further investigation into the health of conflict animals and how that may be responsible for their behaviour.
Surprisingly little is still known about wild tiger health, but what knowledge we have can mostly be found in the Wild Tiger Health Project. This one-stop hub for tiger conservationists is free to access and full of information on everything from tiger biology, field anaesthesia and rehabilitation of injured or orphan tigers, to sampling for diseases, handling conflict animals and reintroducing tigers to areas from which they have disappeared. Created by WVI founder and passionate tiger advocate, the late DrJohn Lewis, it is continuously updated by tiger experts and used by many people working in tiger conservation and related fields.
On the ground, we help fill in gaps in local knowledge by training those who work with wild tigers how to take samples correctly, building in-country capacity to analyse them, and providing advice on how to mitigate any disease threats that are discovered. We have helped set up research projects and develop testing facilities in Nepal, Russia, Indonesia and Bangladesh. Funds from this year’s Christmas Challenge will help build new partnerships to mitigate big disease threats to tigers, including canine distemper virus and African swine fever.
Together we can ensure a healthier future for tigers and for all who share our planet, ourselves included.