Visit the Zoo and help save tigers for Endangered Species Day 2017!

Tigers are one of the most recognizable animals in the world. Their beautiful striped coats are the perfect camouflage for the forests and grasslands these big cats call home. Unfortunately these extraordinary animals are one of the rarest in the wild, with fewer than 4,000 individuals remaining.

Tigers are top predators and are known to hunt a number of different species. Both predators and prey need to have healthy ecosystems in order to survive, and preventing habitat loss is critical to helping ensure their survival. Clearing forests for palm oil production destroys habitat tigers and many other species rely on for resources and to safely raise their young. Palm oil is found in many of the products we use every day, but there are companies who are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), meaning these companies are committed to the use of sustainably-harvested palm oil in their products. As consumers, we can make a difference by choosing to support these companies. Knowing which product to choose — and helping save tigers — is as easy as looking for the RSPO logo on the package, or downloading the app to help you shop.

At Reid Park Zoo you can see Malayan tigers, one of the smallest of the six living tiger species. Malayan tigers are part of a program called the Species Survival Plan®, or SSP®, which was developed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to help determine what’s best for the long-term survival of a species. The professionals who manage these programs determine which animals are the best match for each other and make breeding recommendations. This can mean animals will move to other zoos to meet their mate, but the SSP® ensures each zoo meets its requirements for being able to provide the best care possible for the animals and their future offspring. With wild tiger populations estimated to be so low, zoos and aquariums that are part of this program are vital to preserving a healthy tiger population in human care, while also contributing to research and raising awareness of how we can all help save wild tigers.

One of the best ways to help tigers and other endangered species is by coming to the zoo! While here, you can not only see amazing animals up close—safely—but you can also be an active part of conserving and protecting them. Whenever you participate in our giraffe encounter, you are contributing to the conservation organizations we support around the world. By learning about the animals we have here, we hope you are inspired to care and will spread the word about helping them. Together, we can change the future of wild tigers for the better.

Celebrate Endangered Species Day with us this Friday, May 19!