The week of November 9th marked the 2nd Annual National Tiger Awareness Week, celebrating the big cats by raising awareness and funds for conservation efforts. Tigers for Tigers, a student-led effort that spans multiple tiger-mascot schools across the country, set out to make a difference through fundraisers, skits, flyers and more.
This year saw quite a success through Auburn University, participating in their first Tiger Awareness Week. Auburn’s T4T group had one major goal: Raise money for the Pench-Kanha Corridor conservation project in central India; this purchase of land would form a “corridor”, a safe passageway between two tiger preserves that would allow the cats to freely travel from one to the other to allow for interbreeding and improved genetic diversity.
The local T4T group, led by Robin Lloyd and Jessie Schieler, began upon Auburn’s concourse with flyers and signs in tow; aided by a mysterious sasquatch, a large amount of students were informed of a fundraiser, for the land in India, on November 12th at the local Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Aubie, Auburn’s mascot, even showed up to support his fellow tigers!
With so many students brought on board with tiger conservation, it comes as no surprise that the following night’s fundraiser was a great success. The T4T group gained a percentage from every donated receipt at the restaurant. Now the money that has been raised can go towards the corridor project in India with plenty more time to spare.
For students at Auburn, the tiger serves far beyond being an intimidating mascot. It represents the spirit of the university as a whole; strong, iconic, hard-working and proud. As the Auburn T4T group discovered, many have their interpretation of what the tiger means to them and yet they all share a common desire to protect and help the big cats that give them their inspiration.
With the Pench-Kanha Corridor project becoming closer to a realization, Tigers for Tigers groups across the nation are increasing their efforts in any way this can. It will take a united effort to truly make a difference for the tigers of the world but, if one looks closely, the greatest differences made often start small. Here’s to the future of all tigers!