Over 70 attendees showed up for the 3rd Annual National Tigers for Tigers Coalition Summit last week in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Students from Auburn University, Clemson University, Towson University, Trinity University, Mizzou and even students as far as Rochester Institute of Technology showed up for the big event hosted at LSU.
The summit was comprised of an A-list group of speaker sessions, a panel discussion, and ended with a crawfish boil Baton Rouge-style. Amongst the A-list group of speakers was Judy Mills, journalist and most recently author of “Blood of the Tiger.” With over 20 years experience investigating the truth behind wildlife trafficking in regards to not only tigers, but other endangered species, Judy shed light on a part of conservation we often don’t see. “Her talk was awesome…she had a strong personal connection to tiger farming, and her passion for saving tigers was inspiring,” said Alex Rubin, Clemson T4T sophomore.
Assistant Director of International Affairs for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service closed the program on Saturday with a heartfelt presentation reminding students how important their voices are. Not only did the speakers inspire students, the special guests reminded the students that they are the ones who are inspiring. Bryan explained, “Working in conservation for so long can get sad and lonely. It is me who is inspired by people like you in Tigers for Tigers.”
While students spent time communicating with each other about fundraising and recruiting, others participated in the production of Tigers for Tigers’ first ever Earth Day video (which was filmed right outside Mike VI’s habitat!) In the video, students urged other tigers to show their tiger spirit by posting a photo on Instagram using #RUATiger to celebrate Earth Day.
Click here to watch the video!
This year, the summit closed with a full-on social event at Tin Roof Brewing Company equipped with fresh crawfish, locally brewed beer, and live music from up and coming southern funk band, Dulac Smack! LSU T4T president, Nicole Stagg, said, “I loved that everyone was able to get to know each other this year, and it was a great time to get ready for an awesome new year starting Fall!”
Speakers also included LSU’s Mike the tiger’s vet, Dr. Baker, Rezvin Akter of WildTeam, Sharon Guynup, author of “Tigers Forever,” Paul Taylor, CEO of Global Citizen, and Carson Barylak of IFAW. Tigers for Tigers would like to thank all of the amazing speakers, Dr. Tonkyn, Bill Nimmo, LSU, Beacon Press, IFAW and the National Wildlife Refuge Association, and most importantly the students for all of their support! Also, a special thanks to Tin Roof Brewing Company and Dulac Smack for making sure T4T had a great time while saving tigers!
When asked for a statement on Tigers for Tigers at the end of the summit, Judy replied, “Mark these words: Tigers for Tigers will become a force to be reckoned with for wild tigers.” The words have been marked, Judy!