Follow the Tiger Tracks

Dear Friends of Wildlife

The new Tiger Territory at London Zoo, following hard on the heels of the Zoo’s Gorilla Kingdom (almost £10m between the two of them) and Edinburgh Zoo’s dalliance with captive giant pandas (there goes another £6m) does surely call into question whether endangered species are getting the best possible support in these difficult times and when the challenges of survival in the wild are so pressing.

Having just returned from the CITES Conference in Bangkok where the global zoo community (10,000 zoos and hundreds of thousands if not millions of zoo professionals) were largely conspicuous by their absence, it seemed clear to me and the Born Free team that, with the best will in the world, the impact of this multi-billion pound global industry on the future of species and their habitats is largely negligible.

The handful that try to make a meaningful contribution provide barely a fig leaf to cover the zoo body-corporate but they cannot conceal the paucity of what zoos actually deliver compared to the conservation and education rhetoric they espouse.

You are probably aware of the Save Wild Tigers,  Born Free and EIA ‘Tiger Tracks’ event that ran throughout March at St. Pancras International, London. Last Thursday the 21st March I attended the Tiger Tracks Gala Dinner, an event to raise funds to help protect tigers in their natural habitat. The night was a great success, raising thousands of pounds for our life saving conservation and wildlife law enforcement work. Vitally, it showed that there is a real interest in protecting and conserving tigers in the wild, and not preserving in costly, minuscule, and alien living museums.

Blogging off


5 Responses to “Follow the Tiger Tracks”

  1. gill gilbey Says:

    Dear Will,I,m so glad ‘Tiger Tracks’ has been such a great success,I think more events of this kind would bring wildlife conservation to the forefront in GB.The more the imagination of the general public to “make a difference”is encouraged the better.I hope the money raised by those that care will help to keep the tiger in the wild.

  2. Kerry Holden Says:

    Dear Will

    I was a volunteer at the Tiger Tracks event at St Pancras International for several days and I was pleased to say that the majority of the public I spoke to were very concerned over the dwindling wild tiger numbers and future conservation of these beautiful animals. Many, however, had no idea that there were less than 3,500 left in the wild or that tiger farms existed and fuelled the demand for tiger products. The stuffed 10 day old tiger cub, on display in the Metropolitan Police glass case, caused huge emotion amongst many once they realised it had been killed simply to be used as a trophy.

    I was really pleased to be able to play a tiny part in this worthy campaign and help raise public awareness (as well as much needed funds). I am so pleased it was such a great success.

    Very best wishes

  3. Angela Mary Brace Says:

    Oh dear oh dear. Entertaining humans again. What a pointless exercise. London Zoo needs to get its act together and ask itself why it exists at all. I have not set foot in a zoo since a school trip to Whipsnade about thirty years ago and was so upset to see the mentally ill polar bear pounding up and down. I think there are no polar bears there now and the elephants at London Zoo now have access to the outside BUT WHAT IS THE POINT? I agre with Virginia, ‘There is no such thing as a good zoo’. Animals belong in the wild.

    David Attenborough’s recent speech bringing up ‘the elephant in the room’, human population growth is where the whole planet’s problem lies. Humans are endemic. I would encourage everone to watch his speech which was at Buckingham Palace. Just use a search engine for Population Matters and find it on the site.

  4. jmuhj Says:

    I don’t have answers to this terrible double tragedy, that of dwindling habitat plus wholesale killing for entirely dubious purposes; but somehow, humanity must be able to understand that the uses for which these magnificent beings are put are NOT healthful and do NOT enhance human prowess at all. Secondarily, of course, humanity must somehow be educated to understand that these living beings’ lives are every bit as precious and valuable as our own, and we must have a vested interest in protecting them.

  5. Mrs M Stevens Says:

    I have been a supporter of wildlife conservation through various charities for many years. I passionately believe that every animal has the right to live nature intended. It doesn’t, matter how naturalistic a cage is it is still a cage. It is very dangerous to the survival of a species to believe that if we provide excellent captive conditions that survival in the wild is not necessarily required. With the ever increasing population of the human species we are reaching a crisis point and because, we especially in the western world, live lives increasingly remote from nature we do not even consider that we are part of a complex and interactive ecological system. If we as a species eliminate the habitat of all other species we are doomed. We have, at some point, to curb our numbers or nature will do it for us. I have watched with growing concern since the 60′s the decline of so many species due to our population expansion and it frightens me to think what the world will be like for my grandchildren.