WildCats would like to extend its congratulations to long-term friend of our initiative Dr. Seidensticker on his GTI Council Lifetime Achievement Award!
2023 celebrates the 50th anniversary of India’s Project Tiger and the 15th anniversary of the Global Tiger Initiative. It also marks Dr. John Seidensticker’s 50 years of working to advance the conservation of tigers.
His career in tiger conservation began with Project Tiger, when the Smithsonian Institution (SI) selected him to study tigers in Nepal, as the Institution’s contribution to this new effort. As a founding scientist of the Nepal-Smithsonian Tiger Ecology Project, he was the first to use the then-new technology of radio-telemetry to study tigers.
Building on this experience, he worked on national park planning in the tiger range, including in the Sundarbans and Indonesia. In these efforts, he came to realize that conservation is as much about people and their needs as it is about those of tigers and other iconic wildlife.
Returning to the U.S., he joined the SI, where he served as a scientist and curator for 35 years while continuing his involvement in tiger conservation. This included developing conservation education programs at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and designing and implementing zoo tiger management programs. At the same time, he supported and advised tiger conservation initiatives in all tiger range countries (TRCs).
He served for 15 years on the Save The Tiger Fund Council and for 13 years as its Chair. This grant-making NGO brought the large resources of the ExxonMobil Foundation and the U.S. National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to disperse US$16 million for on-the-ground tiger conservation actions, and to bring together the best minds and best practices to further conservation goals. To expand beyond important but isolated tiger conservation programs, John was instrumental in launching the Global Tiger Initiative (GTI).
John is the author or editor of 235 books and articles, both scientific and popular, recognizing that public understanding of the importance of biodiversity conservation is essential to our success.