Friday, December 21, 2007

Big Cat Rescue joins International Tiger Coalition

The following is an excerpt of a note from the International Tiger Coalition

Dear All,
Please do not think my recent silence means that the ITC has been idle.  On the contrary.  There is much afoot, and I wanted to update you before the end of the year.  Let’s plan to meet up again during the first part of January.  Meanwhile, here is some of what is new:
New members
We have six new members, which means the ITC now has 41 member organizations.  Congratulations to you all, as this is unprecedented in conservation history!  Please welcome AMUR; Big Cat Rescue; Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV); International Trust for Nature Conservation; Phoenix Fund; and The Fund For The Tiger.
Kanha Circle
As mentioned in earlier meetings and updates, the ITC’s success at the CITES CoP last summer inspired those working exclusively on in situ tiger conservation to explore whether there was basis for creating a larger alliance speaking with one voice to save wild tigers.  Please find attached a summary of what happened at what is now called the Kanha Circle, which was a November meeting in India’s Kanha Tiger Reserve to discuss a means of pushing tigers back up the list of global priorities.  The results are exciting, and we are pursuing financial support to implement a global campaign that would include us all.

Tigers as cricket “stars”
Just after the Kanha Circle adjourned, ITC member WPSI was contacted by ZeeSports to make tigers the new Indian Cricket League’s first subject for cause messaging.  ZeeSports offered creative assistance, billboards, video screens and banner space, passes for 15 “tigers” (people dressed as) and tiger conservation messaging inserted in English and Hindi during play-by-play commentary broadcast across Asia.  WPSI and its supporters made it all happen in a week, and we hope that they will share video and more details with us soon.  Congratulations, Belinda and Company!
January TCM conference in Beijing
It is not too late to register for the Beijing conference on traditional Chinese medicine’s role in tiger conservation, which will take place in late January.  Some of you are getting bounce-backs from the organizers in Beijing.  For safety’s sake, please forward all of your registration materials to me via email.   Please also ensure that your contacts in relevant embassies (especially tiger range states, the UK, EU, Australia and the US) in Beijing know about the conference.
I apologize for not getting back to you about your questions regarding the sponsors of this conference.  The three organizers include the American College of TCM and Save The Tiger Fund, both of which are ITC members.  The World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies (WFCMS) is the third organizer and is the quasi-governmental organization associated with China’s State Administration for TCM.   ACTCM and STF have been working with those who head the WFCMS for a decade.  They were instrumental, with WWF, in organizing China’s first conference on TCM and wildlife conservation in Beijing in 1999.  STF’s Campaign Against Tiger Trafficking (CATT) is the main funder of the conference, and we believe that this will be unique opportunity to get our messages across to leaders in the TCM community in China and around the world.  Special thanks go to IFAW, WWF and TRAFFIC for their on-the-ground assistance in making this conference possible. 
China’s new “Love Tigers” website
Just as the TCM conference begins in late January, the ITC will launch a new website in China called “Love Tigers.”  This will be a website created by prominent Chinese artists and writers and other tiger lovers in China.  It will be written in Chinese for Chinese and will feature news and commentary about tigers.  The focus will be the wonders of wild tigers as well as the dangers posed to wild tigers by tiger trade from any source.  This will be China’s first website dedicated to wild tigers.
Release of China survey results
A survey of urban Chinese commissioned by some members of the ITC will be released in January, but you will receive an advance copy of them very soon.  In essence, the survey (a stratified random sampling of populations from seven major cities) shows a pervasive latent demand for tiger products.  The good news is that a huge majority of the Chinese public favors keeping China’s tiger trade ban in place - for the sake of wild tigers and China’ global image.  We will be submitting a paper on the results to a peer-reviewed conservation journal.  Please let us know if you would like to be a co-author.
Delivery of signatures from the ITC mosaic campaign
We are moving forward with a plan to present the more than 70,000 signatures collected from people around the world asking China to keep its trade ban in place.  We are exploring the possibility of presenting them to Chinese officials at the time of the TCM conference in January.
ITC’s award-winning “End Tiger Trade” campaign
As you know, our “End Tiger Trade” campaign won an honorable mention in the PR News Non-Profit Awards.  This is a big deal in the non-profit communications sector in the U.S.  We were not THE winner in our category, however, we don’t feel so badly about that since we were beat by the much more costly Darfur campaign of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and Google, Inc.  We should be very proud that we were a finalist in league with these giants - and we have a trophy to prove it.  Thanks to all who made that possible, especially Jan Vertefeuille!

Possible access to China’s top leadership
While I cannot name names at this point, I can tell you that one of our ITC members has been able to talk with a very influential member of China’s State Council about the importance of China keeping its tiger trade ban firmly in place.  This State Council member asked for a written summary of the issue for China’s top leaders.  We will let you know whether this information reaches the top.
Happy holidays to those who are celebrating holidays at this time.  Happy New Year to all!
With gratitude for your continuing partnership,
Judy Mills
Save The Tiger Fund
Director, Campaign Against Tiger Trafficking (CATT)
1120 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Suite 900
Washington, DC  20036  USA

For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

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