Here at Towson University, when we think of tigers we’re usually either talking sports or our perpetually happy, enthusiastic “Doc” mascot. But for one group of committed students on campus, the focus on tigers has a much different meaning.
Towson Tigers 4 Tigers (T4T) is a student-led conservation group that is actively involved in efforts to save tigers in the wild. According to the national Tigers 4 Tigers Coalition, poaching, habitat loss, and fragmentation have reduced the global population of tigers from over 100,000 in the 1900s to less than 4,000 in the 1970s.
Today, four of the remaining subspecies are considered endangered, while two are considered to be “critically” endangered. The total number of all the wild populations of the six remaining subspecies of tigers is estimated to be between 3,000 and 3,600.
To help raise awareness and resources needed to help save this dwindling population, the Tigers 4 Tigers Coalition is sponsoring “Tiger Awareness Week” beginning today (Monday, Nov. 9) through this Friday. Towson’s chapter is participating in the national effort with a series of activities on our campus throughout the week.
Monday’s kick-off event featured information tabling from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Freedom Square. On Wednesday, the group will hold a tiger skit at Freedom Square at 11:30 a.m.
But the group’s primary goal this week is to raise funds, said co-founder Chelsea Connor.
“We are specifically raising funds for the Pench and Kanha tiger reserves in central India,” Connor said. “If we’re able to raise $1,000, the National Wildlife Refuge Association will match that amount with another $1,000.”
To help reach that goal, TU’s Tigers 4 Tigers group is auctioning off a beautifully painted, handmade Towson Tigers corn hole board and will be hosting a fund raiser this Friday at Bill Bateman’s Bistro at 7800 York Road, noted group president Katie Iser.
“Starting at 11 a.m. Friday and running throughout the day, 10 percent of every order at Bill Bateman’s will be donated to our cause,” Iser noted. “Then at 8 p.m. there will be a chicken wing eating contest. The contest winner will receive a t-shirt, a Chipotle gift card, and a Towson football jersey signed by Coach Ambrose.
“The winner of the corn hole board will be drawn during the wing eating contest,” she added.
This past March, Towson Tigers 4 Tigers gained some local notoriety when it hosted several members of the Rochester Institute of Technology’s cross country team as they ran from Auburn University (Ala.) back to their campus in New York. The group stopped at numerous schools along the way that have “tigers” as their mascots (including Towson) to help raise awareness.
For additional information about this week’s Tiger Awareness Week activities, or to make a donation, go to the Towson Tigers 4 Tigers’ new web site: http://towsont4t.org