The University of Missouri is among a consortium of schools with tiger mascots that are ramping up efforts to address the dwindling global tiger population.
The University of Missouri (Truman the Tiger,) Louisiana State University (Mike the Tiger), Auburn University (Aubie the Tiger) and Clemson University (The Tiger and Tiger Cub) are committing to more and better research, education and awareness, across disciplines, related to tiger conservation efforts.
University of Missouri spokesperson Sheena Rice says the school has had a "Tigers for Tigers" student group for almost 20 years but is proud to support this new effort.
At this point she's not clear of the university's financial commitment.
The increased conservation efforts were initiated by Clemson University President James P. Clements, a member of the Global Tiger Initiative Council.
Brett Wright, Dean of the Clemson University College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences, says in a release that those who cheer on the tiger at games and spirit rallies should understand the plight of the animal in the wild.
“These universities share the tiger mascot and benefit from that majestic symbol of strength, dignity and beauty, so they share a moral responsibility to apply all of our resources to save the animal that inspires that symbol," Wright says.
Kansas City Zoo Conservation Manager Stacia Pieroni says part of each ticket to enter the zoo goes toward animal conservation campaigns, including the Tiger Conservation Campaign, coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The Kansas City Zoo has two Sumatran Tigers.
The World Wildlife Fund lists the Amur, Bengal and Indochinese Tiger as endangered. The Malayan, South China and Sumatran Tigers are listed as critically endangered.