On July 29th many of our supporters celebrated International Tiger Day which was founded at the St. Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010, the last Chinese Year of the Tiger, with the intention of bringing the world’s focus to tiger conservation. But did you know that it was not the first Tiger Day? The Russian Tiger Day Festival began in 2000 when Phoenix Fund continued with the idea first had by Vladimir Troynin, a children’s writer and game keeper, who had already celebrated this holiday for a few years in remote village schools. Phoenix Fund wanted to bring this idea to a much wider audience and in collaboration with the Far Eastern branch of WWF and with the support of the Vladivostok City Administration, this became a reality.
In 2001, Tiger Day was officially announced as a city festival and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) joined the Festival Organizing Committee. Over the intervening years the festival has grown enormously, so much so that it is now held over two days, and this year will be held in Vladivostok on 28th-29th September.
The celebrations start with a carnival procession which last year involved 15,000 people, many dressed as tigers! Reaching the central city square the fun continues with theatrical performances, contests and entertainment providing multiple opportunities to highlight the most burning issues of tiger conservation and engage people in working towards securing the Amur tiger’s future in the wild. Celebrations are held in other cities and towns across Russia, not just in Amur tiger range, and every year there are more events, with some regions celebrating on different days throughout the year so ample opportunity for people to join those wanting to protect the Amur tiger. The festivals also provide the chance to gauge people’s level of knowledge about tiger conservation and indicate if the ongoing education and outreach work is having a positive effect on people’s understanding of the situation.
Why don’t you join in this year’s celebrations with your own Russian Tiger Day event and help us raise funds for the projects we support in the Russian Far East?