29th July 2013: Since the start of the 20th Century, tiger numbers have declined by over 95% with as few as 3,200 remaining in the wild. However new research released today by Whiskas, revealed that Brits mistakenly believe there to be six times that number at 17,000. This highlights just how low awareness is about the plight of the tiger.
Action or inaction:
The number of tigers is at a tipping point and without urgent support today's children could grow up in a world where wild tigers barely exist. When children were asked how they would feel if tigers became extinct tomorrow, 41% stated they'd be angry that people didn't do enough to save them.
A further 1 in 5 children stated they would give up their pocket money to help protect tigers from extinction and almost half (42%) of children think that looking after big cats is just as important as looking after the cats we have at home. However it's not just children who believe more needs to be done to save tigers from extinction, as almost two thirds (63%) of adults also echo the statement.
The research, which surveyed 1,000 adults and 500 children across the UK, marks the launch of a ground-breaking partnership between Whiskas, the little cat experts and WWF, a leader in big cat conservation. The aim of the partnership is to raise vital funds for WWF's 'Tigers Alive' conservation programme - which aims to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022 - through sales of special packs of Whiskas.
Across this summer, the funds raised by Whiskas will have a particular focus on supporting the daily work of WWF in the Terai Arc region of Nepal, one of the few remaining strongholds, which is currently home to around 120 adult tigers. Funding will:
· Monitor the tigers living in the areas around the protected areas of the Terai Arc region of Nepal, their prey and their habitat - purchasing new equipment such as camera traps and GPS
· Engage with Government and Police to ensure coordinated efforts to tackle poaching and illegal trade, including strengthening the legislation on illegal trade and supporting local law enforcement agencies with training and equipment, such as bicycles
· Look after three habitat corridors linking designated protected areas to allow tigers to roam freely to hunt and breed and to focus on habitat management in Banke National Park, restoring grassland, planting tree seedlings and creating 2 new waterholes
· Help rangers in their daily work in the field by equipping isolated ranger huts with new equipment - 18 huts will be equipped with solar power to give light and enable charging of equipment, 12 huts will receive MIST patrol technology and associated training to record sightings of tigers and their prey, as well as signs of poaching and other relevant incidents on their patrols
Liz Bonnin, tiger expert and presenter who has teamed up with Whiskas and WWF said: I'm fascinated by tigers and studied them in Nepal as part of my MA studies, so this campaign is very close to my heart. With as few as 3,200 tigers left in the wild, this research shows just how important it is to raise awareness of the plight of the tiger."
Helen Heasman, Premium Cat Portfolio Manager, Whiskas said: "At Whiskas we're passionate about caring for all cats, both big and small, and understand that with as few as 3,200 remaining in the wild, tigers are in urgent need of our care. This is why we're so privileged and excited to be partnering with WWF, as together this summer through pack sales we will raise £500,000 for WWF's Tigers Alive initiative - which will support ongoing tiger conservation efforts to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022."
David Nussbaum Chief Executive, WWF-UK, said: "Wild tigers are at a tipping point and action, or inaction, in the coming decade will decide their fate. This is why initiatives such as our partnership with Whiskas are so important, providing another way for people to get involved and support WWF's ambitious goal to double tiger numbers in the wild by 2022."
From July - September 2013 for every special pack of Whiskas purchased, a contribution will be made to help protect tigers in the wild. To find out more about the work being done in Nepal visit www.whiskas.co.uk/wwf to see a short documentary made by Whiskas and WWF's on-the-ground team in their search for a tiger.
For further information please contact:
Kellie Rollings, Public Relations Manager, E: KRollings@WWF.org.uk, T: 07990 661336
About the Whiskas WWF Partnership:
Because Whiskas cares for all cats, big and small, it has partnered with WWF to help protect tigers in the wild. Go to www.whiskas.co.uk/wwf to see how every special pack of Whiskas purchased between now and September will help to protect tigers and support WWF UK's goal of doubling the number of tigers in the wild by 2022.
WWF is one of the world's largest independent conservation organisations, with more than five million supporters and a global network active in more than one hundred countries. We're working to create solutions to the most serious environmental issues facing our planet, so that people and nature can thrive. Through our engagement with the public, businesses and government, we focus on safeguarding the natural world, tacking climate change and changing the way we live. Find out more about our work, past and present at www.wwf.org.uk
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