People-powered website connects conservation to social media in aid of India’s tigers
A website launched today will give extraordinary insight to India’s threatened tiger population, by allowing members of the public to connect with, ID, follow, and therefore protect tigers in the wild.
The technology used by Tiger Nation has, up until now, not been accessible to the general public. In a groundbreaking move for tiger conservation, members of the community site can work alongside conservationists on the ground to preserve the tiger population in some of India’s most pristine wilderness.
The site tackles one of the biggest issues in tiger conservation today. Tens of thousands of Royal Bengal Tigers in India have been lost since 1900, when up to 40,000 wild tigers lived in its forests. In a stark contrast, India’s last official tiger census announced that just 1,706 tigers are now left in the country. It is estimated that up to 45% of tigers are dying of unnatural causes such as poaching, however, without formal identification; the exact number killed each year would continue to go unnoticed.
With over two million trips made to tiger reserves each year by both Indian and international holidaymakers, responsible visitors and photographers now have the opportunity to get to know and ultimately protect tigers in their natural habitat.
How does it work?
Tiger stripes are as unique to individual tigers as fingerprints are to humans. The Tiger Nation ID software works by using safari goers photographs or videos, as well as images taken by Government and NGO cameras, to log and pictorially track each animal.
The biggest database open to the public to date, Tiger Nation subscribers can follow the lives and welfare of their favourite tigers, reading updates in the ‘Tiger Diaries’. Members will have access to 3D maps of their tiger’s homes, up to date images, articles and film clips from the world’s top tiger experts, plus the opportunity to name wild tigers as they are discovered.
As well as its proactive conservation purpose, the technology also allows for tiger skins seized by the authorities to be identified – helping investigators to track down powerful poaching gangs.
Director, Amit Sankhala, whose grandfather was the original founder of Project Tiger in the 1970’s, comments. “The site has been built to be fun, informative and interactive, driven by anyone who wants to contribute, from anywhere in the world. The more people who join us, the faster we can grow and work to help double or triple the number of tigers in the wild.”
Tiger Nation Founder Julian Matthews summarises; “Tiger Nation is truly a boundary-breaking project, looking to preserve India’s tigers through people-powered conservation. Now we need the public to get involved by joining the site, helping to support and feed into our team on the ground. In doing so, we hope to uncover a more realistic picture of this magnificent species.”