YOUTH FOR CONSERVATION FORUM
With the arrival of the Year of the Tiger, we are witness to numerous upsetting headlines like: "Demand Supports Illegal Trade in Tiger Parts" and "Exposed: Dark secrets of tiger farms where tigers' bodies are plundered to make £185 wine." The Youth for Conservation Forum (YFCF) is an organization founded by students at the National Cathedral School to stand up and make efforts to raise awareness about wildlife conservation and biodiversity issues.
The YFCF is especially concerned about the wild tiger crisis. There were once over 100,000 happy tigers roaming the forests of Asia, but now there are less than 3,200. Why? It is due to poaching, habitat loss, fragmentation, poor development choices, and other factors. In fact, tigers may become extinct by the next year of the tiger: 2022.
There are eight sub-species of tiger: Bali, Bengal, Caspian, Indochinese, Javan, Siberian, South China, and Sumatran, but only five remain in existence. Illegal killing and trade of wild tiger parts are threats induced by human activity. Farmers often kill tigers when tigers intrude upon their land or threaten their livestock, but the fact is humans are intruding upon the tigers' territory. With tiger habitats shrinking and fragmenting, where are these magnificent creatures to go? What are they to eat?
Human activities such as the building of dams, the construction of roads, lumbering, and the conversion of tiger habitat to agricultural production all are contributing factors for tigers that threaten the whole species with extinction.
Tigers also serve as religious and cultural icons of Asia. In fact, they appear on the flags of many countries and are the official national symbol for others. It is no wonder they are called the world's most charismatic creature.
Our first project at YFCF is to take part in the Global Tiger Initiative. One of our main goals is to attract more youth to the important cause of wild tiger conservation and protection of biodiversity. Several founding members of the YFCF joined the "Vanishing Icons" event and photo exhibit held at the World Bank in Washington, DC on April 21st.
They had the opportunity to meet leaders such as Robert Zoellick, the President of the World Bank, who is a major wild tiger enthusiast!
What role do youth have in the future of wildlife? The fact is that our generation inherits the current crisis and will influence the future! By advocating for tigers today, our future and the tiger's future can change. Creating a network where information and ideas are passed around is the first step to creating change and to giving aid to the wild tigers, who stand at the top of the food chain.
Please join us in the movement towards saving the tiger so that we're not only left with familiar faces like Tigger and Tony the Tiger, but with tigers of the wild, roaming wild Asian forests in the place that they call home.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org from your schools so that we can expand our network and further develop our actions for this cause! Any stories, pictures, or comments that relate to tigers or wildlife conservation are welcome!