CLEMSON — Clemson University will host a weeklong series of campus events focused on bringing attention to the plight of wild tigers and ensuring their survival.

Tigers Always LogoTigers Always Conservation Week will take place Sept. 23–27 and will feature an array of tiger-centric happenings.

The week will be highlighted by the Sept. 24 signing of a memorandum of understanding between Global Tiger Forum Secretary General Rajesh Gopal and Clemson University President James P. Clements. The event will take place at 2:30 p.m. at the Brooks Center on the Clemson campus and will include an address by Gopal.

The memorandum calls for collaboration on several fronts in the fight to protect tigers, including research, training and teaching, and such student opportunities as study abroad, student exchange, internships, distance learning and continuing education. The Global Tiger Forum is an intergovernmental and international body that provides leadership and common approaches throughout the world to safeguard the survival of the tiger, its prey and its habitat.

“Wild tigers are in dire need of protection from poaching and habitat destruction,” Clements said. “Because of our expertise in wildlife biology, conservation and natural resource management, as well as our passion for our tiger mascot, it makes sense for Clemson to join the Global Tiger Forum in the fight to preserve this iconic animal.”

Surveys show that approximately 3,200 wild tigers remain in isolated islands of habitat across 13 tiger range countries. That’s roughly equal to the number of freshmen at Clemson. Tigers currently inhabit only 7 percent of their historic range, and the land area occupied by tigers has decreased by 41 percent in the last decade. Three of the nine tiger subspecies are extinct, and those that remain are often killed and their body parts sold on the international black market.

Other highlights of the Tigers Always Conservation Week include:

  •  Kickoff – 3 p.m. Sept. 23 at Fort Hill on the Clemson campus: The kickoff for Tigers Always Conservation Week will begin at Fort Hill where 14 students will carry flags representing Clemson and the 13 tiger-range nations to the reflection point in Memorial Park across from the stadium on Williamson Road. A proclamation declaring Tigers Always Conservation Week will be read and available for signing. Clements will present this proclamation to Gopal at a ceremony later in the week
  • Student Conclave – 4-6 p.m. Sept. 25, McKissick Theatre, Hendrix Student Center: S.P. Yadav, inspector general, India National Tiger Conservation Authority, and Andrey Kushlin, director of the World Bank’s Global Tiger Initiative, will talk about the threats to wild tigers and conservation efforts. Clemson National Scholars who explored Bhutan in 2014, as well as students from Creative Inquiry, EDGE and parks, recreation and tourism management will participate.
  • Showing, “Life of Pi” – 6:30 p.m. Sept. 25 on “Baby Bowman” (the lawn behind Hendrix Student Center): “Life of Pi” is the Oscar-winning and tiger-focused film created, that includes Clemson faculty member Jerry Tessendorf’s special effects work. The showing will include free refreshments and an introduction to the movie by Tessendorf.

“While everyone who is a part of the Clemson family shares a love for tigers, very few truly understand the current crisis this species is facing,” said Taylor Tench, president of Clemson’s Tigers for Tigers, which has been on the leading edge of a national tiger conservation movement since 1997.

“Some experts predict that wild tigers will become extinct by the year 2050,” Tench said. “Because the tiger is such a fundamental part of Clemson University, we have a responsibility to work toward ensuring its survival for future generations of Clemson Tigers.”