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Tiger News

Left Images © Roger Hooper

Driven by a burning bright passion to help wild tigers...

Simon Clinton, the founder of Save Wild Tigers, talks to the EIA about his passion for conservation and what inspired him to set up Save Wild Tigers.

I was recently asked, in a live radio interview in Kuala Lumpur why an Englishman from London, with a background in marketing & advertising, producing TV ads for brands such as The Happy Egg Co, had come to Malaysia to help save wild tigers?

For me the answer was simple – I grew up in Malaysia; indeed, my first exposure to tigers was here as a child in the early ’70s and, like so many people, I have been captivated by their magnificence ever since.

I have always been passionate about conservation; however, around five years ago I was asked to help market and launch Europe’s first-ever tiger art exhibition, here in London at Asia House. Only then did the irony hit me, that this stunning tiger-inspired art exhibition, with some of the pieces dating back thousands of years, could soon be the only way in which we see tigers. Art and pictures … could this really be the legacy we leave our future generations if we do not act, and act quickly?

My reaction was to set up Save Wild Tigers in 2011 as a non-profit organisation, bringing big marketing thinking and creativity to the cause globally. No spin here – the situation is desperate; there are now fewer than 3,500 tigers left in the wild and 95 per cent of their traditional habitat has been destroyed. Having roamed the planet for over two million years, we now face the prospect that we have 10 years left to save the wild tiger, or 10 years until possible extinction. We need to act now, to cut through the negativity, the scepticism and sometimes the simple lack of interest and move forward to  inspire and capture the public’s (and core stakeholders’) imaginations. We need to convert that enthusiasm into action and essential, critically required funds. Working very closely with our NGO partners, the Environmental Investigation Agency and the Born Free Foundation, we are forging a powerful team.

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Between the 1st and 7th October, India celebrated its national Wildlife Week. To honour this, key partner organisations in the Satpuda Landscape Tiger Programme (a Born Free Foundation project supported by Save Wild Tigers) took the opportunity to advance the message of tiger conservation.

The Satpuda Foundation focussed on education activities involving thousands of tribal children living around Tadoba-Andhari, Kanha and Pench (Maharashtra) Tiger Reserves. At various villages, nature awareness rallies took place involving hundreds of school children chanting environment and wildlife related slogans. After the rallies, children took part in lectures given by invited guests on the importance of wildlife conservation, nature trails and drawing and rangoli making competitions. Films with a wildlife conservation message were shown and cleaning drives were also conducted, with scattered plastic and other rubbish cleared with the participation of the school children.

The Satpuda Foundation and Nature Conservation Society Amravati also collaborated to organise a film festival which screened around 40 local and international new wildlife films, while providing the opportunity for a variety of many other activities. These included a wildlife photography exhibition, a photography workshop and conservation lectures, notably by Deepak Apte of the Bombay Natural History Society, another SLTP partner organisation. School children held a competition on environmental issues and a Green Conference was held for University students from 16 different institutions who presented around 150 research papers, with prizes awarded for best in each theme. A number of wildlife conservation awards were also given to honour individuals whose work in the field was judged to have had particular impact.

The response to all these Wildlife Week activities was overwhelmingly positive and SLTP’s partner organisations are confident that the information sharing, strengthening of resolve and sensitization which took place has helped to bring tiger conservation into the spotlight and prioritize the vital role people play in the future of tigers in the wild.

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Image © BFF


Funds will be deployed in the following projects managed by the Born Free Foundation (BFF) and the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA):

The Satpuda Landscape Tiger Programme * (BFF):

1.       A Tiger Friendly Landscape

This project proposes to monitor existing and planned linear development projects, dams and mining within tiger range areas in Central India. Mines, roads and infrastructure developments are rarely planned taking into consideration the integrity of the forest habitat or the movement of wildlife, and often result in loss of forests and diversity. SLTP partners have a strong field presence, and are able to react swiftly to survey, monitor and lobby for mitigation measures.

2.       Tiger Ambassadors

In Central India tigers are not limited to tiger reserves. Many manage to live stealthily in forest patches outside protected areas but often come into conflict with humans. Between 2005 and 2011, 132 carnivore attacks on humans were recorded around Tadoba-Andhaeri Tiger Reserve, 54% resulting in death. This results in communities who fear and dislike tigers. In order to reduce this hostility towards tigers, SLTP Tiger Ambassadors will be selected from several key villages and help protect tigers by mitigating tiger conflict and reducing animosity. They will provide an early warning system and a source of intelligence information, alerting SLTP and the Forest Department of any attacks, as well as providing information leads on poaching. 

3.       Fuel for Tigers

To reduce human-tiger conflict ‘Fuel for Tigers’ is to be introduced. Tigers live best when physically separated from people and their activities but with habitat loss and fragmentation increasing, conflict between tigers and people is also rising. The chief driver of this conflict is the need for cooking fuel that forces people to go daily into the forest which results in them becoming vulnerable to large carnivore attacks. If that dependence on forests for fuel and other forest products could be reduced, then it follows that conflict would also be reduced, saving the lives of many people and many tigers.

SLTP proposes a multi-pronged approach to reduce people’s reliance on fuel wood from tiger forests, by matching the needs of different people to the right fuel source. For instance, those with a small herd of buffaloes would get the most benefit out of gobar gas (dung biogas), those with a small plot of land and some disposable income would benefit from an LPG stove, whereas the poorest, who still rely on firewood, would reduce their need to enter the forest by using fuel-efficient stoves. In selected villages SLTP will repair existing gobar gas plants and provide maintenance, help villagers access government- subsidised LPG cylinders and stoves,subsidise refills for the first year, and provide fuel-efficient stoves for the rest. With a long-term view SLTP will also explore the potential of small-scale biofuel plants that would potentially supply energy to a whole village. 

4.       Rapid Veterinary Response

SLTP proposes the enabling of a rapid response team by training a number of government and independent veterinarians to respond to tiger poaching events and assist in swiftly determining cause of death. They will also receive training to improve their ability to deal with the capture and handling of problem animals, ensuring that their welfare is paramount. 

*BFF’s partners on the ground implementing these projects are Bombay Natural History Society, Conservation Action Trust, Nature Conservation Society Amravati, Satpuda Foundation and Tiger Research and Conservation Trust.  


EIA Investigations:

Funds raised bySave Wild Tigers during Tiger Tracks 2013 will go towards the costs of  investigations on international illegal tiger trade, including the trade in captive-bred (farmed) tiger parts and will allow the EIA to build on the findings published in ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’ through campaign activities.

Investigation activities include:

  • Preparatory work such as covert field investigations as well as desk based research
  • Analysing findings and converting them into intelligence briefings for law enforcement
  • Publishing findings as reports/ films / briefings /social media communications -  aimed at policy makers, the public and the media.

​​​Campaign activities include:

  • Delivering the published material to key decision-makers internationally
  • Delivering the published material directly to consumer countries.
  • Working with new stakeholders to communicate our findings and campaign objectives to top decision-makers in China.