This Saturday, July 29th is Global Tiger Day—also known as International Tiger Day. And if you’re a “Tiger Geek,” this is the day to let your stripey flag fly! But don’t stop there! This is also the purrfect opportunity to turn your geeky love into a geeky contribution for a grrrrreat cause: saving the tigers.
Tigers are pretty high on the pop-culture “oh so adorable” list. Your younger geeklings are probably more familiar with the cute and cuddly versions like Daniel Tiger or Tigger the Tiger. As we grow up (figuratively speaking), we turn to more mature versions like Tygra from Thundercats, or perhaps Shere Khan from The Jungle Book. And then there is a whole other world of tiger-geeks with tattoos and towels and stuffed toys and bed throws… Tigers have all the majestic appeal of lions, but with a touch of “something else” that makes them just a little more exotic.
So What Makes Tigers So Special?
It may come as a shock to some when they learn tigers are on the endangered list. At present, there are 3,890 tigers remaining in the wild (give or take a couple). That’s still a fairly specific number, but we are reassured in its accuracy because of a small group of countries who made a commitment to count the tigers in the wild and prevent these numbers from dropping any further.
It all started in 2010 with the St. Petersburg Tiger Summit. It was an unprecedented gathering of 13 nations to address the imminent extinction of tigers (you can read the full St. Petersburg Declaration here). Together they acknowledged the severity of the problem, the importance of tigers as indicators of healthy ecosystems, and the role of international agreements such as this in protecting rare and endangered species.
And They Are Doing Something About It
Bhutan was the latest country to go out and accurately survey wild tiger numbers—there are currently 103 wild tigers in Bhutan. Other countries have also conducted national tiger surveys: Nepal, India, Russia, and Bangladesh. China is preparing for the task ahead very soon. These surveys give us a better idea of the numbers, as well as the survival rates across varying habitats. The more we know about where tigers are thriving, the better we can protect them. It’s all part of preserving, protecting, and enhancing tiger habitats. And the countries with the best tiger preservation are the countries with the greatest political support… and the greatest groundswell in support too.
That’s right, tiger geeks! YOU are actively part of the solution!!! Every time you show how much you love tigers, it is noticed throughout our great big digitally connected world! Every time you flash a tiger tattoo or see a meme about stretch-marks being tiger stripes, that’s another point in the column of Tiger Love.
And now we have a day to double the effort.
Global Tiger Day
Global Tiger Day is an annual celebration created by the St. Petersburg Summit for all things tiger, and especially all things to protect this endangered species. We have a list of things you can make or do with your geeklings for Global Tiger Day. Remember: this day is all about raising awareness of how important tigers are and how endangered they are. Raising awareness is great, but you need to put your geeky love to work as well.
- Start with reading a book. Tickle their imagination and awaken their curiosity. Books are always a great way to introduce new themes. Once they discover their first tiger stripe, encourage a few more activities.
- For the littlest cubs: I’m a Tiger Too! by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick
- For kids needing a battle-companion: Tiger vs Nightmare by Emily Tetri (read our GeekDad review here)
- For the dreamy cubs just reading chapter books: The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne (Tigger!)
- For the classics: The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
- For the growing mind: The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
- For poets: The Tyger by William Blake
- Make tiger cakes (choc-orange marble)
Tiger cakes can be easy. Take your favorite cake recipe and divide it in two, just after you have mixed all the ingredients together into a batter. To one-half, add orange food coloring and orange flavor (if you use OJ, you will need to add a bit more flour to counter the extra liquid). To the other half, add your cocoa. Pour the chocolate mix into your pan, and then add the orange mix on top. With a knife or skewer, swirl together the two mixes until they are loosely entwined. Don’t completely mix them together or you’ll end up with one solid color. The idea is to dip your knife/skewer in and out and swirl it around a bit for a marble effect. Cook as per your recipe and enjoy! (Share your photos on our social media pages too!)
- Get crafty and LOOK like a tiger! There are plenty of options available for kids masks, from free printables on the internet to paper plates and a bit of text work from your own design. For those who are far more artistic than me, bring out the face paint and bring your inner tiger OUT. I have been told it is one of the easiest designs to paint on a kid: just sponge on a whole heap of orange and then paint on some stripes. I’ll let you know on Saturday how I go…
4. Visit the Zoo. Now, remember folks: not all zoos are created equal. I’m going to trust your judgment on this one. If you are lucky enough to live near a zoo that also supports conservation and rehabilitation then, by all means, give them your patronage! There are many zoos all around the world who are working with the World Wildlife Foundation and other great conservation groups. They are the zoos who provide education sessions on how to protect endangered species like tigers. Find a zoo you trust, check out any special Global Tiger Day activities they have, and share the details here.
5. Play like a tiger (hide-and-seek)
This is a great idea for teaching your kids the importance of quiet… I totally meant to say camouflage and hiding and stuff. Seriously, though, a few games of hide-and-seek as tigers will teach them a lot about how tigers survive in the jungle.
6. Study the geography of tigers. Do you have a geekling who loves to travel and dream of far-off, distant places? Start with the countries who participated in the St. Petersburg Declaration and look at why these countries are soooooo important in the preservation of tigers. What type of habitat do they live in, and what’s the biggest threat?
7. Donate to save the tigers. This is the most important one of all: it’s not enough to “talk the talk.” You need to put this into action as well. Do you have a tiger tattoo on your lovely body? Put a few dollars aside for the WWF Tiger Preservation Program. Have a cute tiger cuddly on your geeklings bed? Throw a few more dollars in the tiger preservation jar. Feel like dancing in the lounge room to Katy Perry’s “Roar”? That’s another dollar for the tigers. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, but it will add up.
Every time you have the opportunity to be a tiger geek, put a dollar towards the animals who gave you your fandom. Being a geek means being positively passionate about something—anything! Being a responsible geek means respecting where your fandom came from.
So for this Global Tiger Day, paint on your tiger stripes and let everyone hear you roar! Love your tigers and share your voice in support of their preservation.