Dr. David W. Tonkyn
Clemson students have been working to help save tigers since 1997, when they formed Tigers for Tigers. There is a great story to be told about here: nine Creative Inquiry classes and ten Biology classes that traveled to see wild Bengal tigers, creating the National T4T Coalition, two students now studying wild tigers in the wild, and more. Over the next few weeks we will let the people in this story tell it in their own words.
Here are the first stories in this series, with more being added frequently:
Passion, Positivity, and Inspiration
Takako Sato and Taylor Tench
Clemson University & Tigers for Tigers
One of the original co-founders of Tigers for Tigers back in 1997, Takako Sato (Clemson 2001) has contributed to our most recent T4T blog. In it, she discusses her passion for tigers and conservation, in addition to the challenges of conservation education in Japan.
After graduating from Clemson, Takako worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge in Sebastian, Florida. She couldn’t stay away from tigers for long though, and today still works to support the tiger conservation work of Tiger Trust in India. She currently is living in Tokyo, Japan, where she educates youth and inspires them to become actively involved in tiger conservation...read more.
Philosophy & English, Clemson University 2003
Clemson football, for true fans, goes beyond simply “something to do on Saturdays.” The aura of what it means to be part of the Clemson family is similar to how many in our state feel about belonging to a church family. Simply put, it is the culture of our state for one generation to educate the next about what it means to live as a Tiger fan and suit up for Saturdays. With the cooler weather of fall upon us, we often reflect on the individuals in our lives who passed the spirit on to us and thus connect with the passion of those who passed it on to them...read more.
“I conduct my fieldwork in Kanha Tiger Reserve, India for my Master’s research here at Clemson University in South Carolina. For my M.S. research I am looking into disease spillover risk from feral carnivores to wild carnivores in central India. I was in India for my second field season from January to May 2015. During my fieldwork I came across a massive male tiger, too close for comfort. Thankfully, no one got hurt and I will be able to tell the story and share my memories forever...read more.
Vanderbilt University '18
...As I grew older, I read about how tigers were poached mercilessly. Sadly, such news stories had become routine. Therefore, in my own capacity, I wanted to become part of the effort committed towards tiger conservation and its habitat. Though in my geography classes, I had read about the depletion of forests and encroachment of forestland by humans, I knew I could no longer remain a bystander. Thus, I joined the Tiger Trust, a non-profit organization dedicated towards its preservation. Read More.
"How Tigers For Tigers and I Got a Good Start at Clemson"
By Takako Sato
Wildlife and Fisheries Biology 2001
I never thought I was making history when I was a student, helping start the Tigers for Tigers movement. Looking back now after 17 years, though, I can see the actions I took then helped to create something BIG! Individual contributions made Tigers for Tigers what it is today and I hope we can continue to channel our passion into action - for the sake of saving wildlife around the world! .....read more.
National Tigers for Tigers Coalition
On Wednesday, September 17th members from the National Tigers for Tigers Coalition flew to Washington D.C. to speak with Senators and their Representatives to rally support for not only their shared tiger mascot, but also for wildlife conservation in general. There were three ultimate asks when it came to conversations with the Senators & their staffers...read more.
Amy Hastie Samples
B.S. Environmental and Natural Resources, 2004
As I sat on the cold bench of the open-aired Jeep waiting in line to enter the gates of Bandhavgarh National Park, a shiver ran through my body. I wondered if it was the chill of the pre-dawn hour or the adrenaline of knowing I was about to enter one of the greatest remaining home-ranges for wild Bengal tigers. How could I be so lucky as to spend three months in this majestic place? .....read more.
Alex Rubin, Biological Sciences ‘17
Sarah Steedman, Biological Sciences ‘17
The iconic college spring break is one of crazy partying on a beach with thousands of other drunk college students. There’s a whole culture surrounding the infamous spring break experience filled with embarrassing pictures, cheap t-shirts, and crazy stories. So how did we end up spending our first spring break as a college students in India studying wildlife and conservation? We were asking ourselves that same question as we tried to sleep on a train traveling to central India at two in the morning with a small group of students...read more.
By Jen Bunty,
M.S. student, Biological Sciences 2014
In a world that is becoming increasingly accessible, where well-traveled people claim that “everyone speaks English” and smartphone apps can instantly translate any book, it may seem as though learning a second language is a waste of time. For future conservation professionals, this myth is promoted through course requirements that leave out foreign languages and in turn focus on math and economics. While math and economics are undoubtedly important, if you want to work towards conservation in another country, I can attest that learning a second language can be as good as a ticket there. ...read more.