Illegal poaching and hunting of these magnificent cats, coupled with the encroachment of their forest habitat arising from human activities, have led to the massive decline of tigers. In fact, there is an estimated 2000 to 3000 Bengal Tigers and only 300 to 400 Sumatran Tigers remaining in the world; if nothing is done to protect them, the Bengal and Sumatran Tigers may go extinct in our lifetime.
The urgent need for conservation has prompted Australia Zoo to embark on the Sumatran and Bengal tiger breeding programme. Under this programme, several Sumatran and Bengal tigers were adopted and sheltered by the zoo.
As it is impossible for tigers born in captivity to be released back into the wild, the main focus of the tiger conservation scheme is not to shelter these tigers. Rather, the programme sets its sight on the more effective and sustainable approach – education.
Australia Zoo envisions inspiring visitors to fund tiger conservation efforts by providing them with an exciting and unforgettable experience with the adopted tigers at The Tiger Temple. The zoo aims to raise awareness of the critical circumstances surrounding the tigers, and educate people on the impending future of extinction if nothing is done to save the tigers.
“If we can inspire just 10 percent of the people that come through here to put back into projects in the wild and change their attitudes toward conservation, we’ll be a success.”
– Giles Clark, senior tiger handler
Australia Zoo has raised over $1 million in which the full amount would be used to fund worldwide tiger conservation efforts.