Auburn, Clemson, LSU and Missouri join in tiger conservation effort

Auburn, Clemson, LSU and Missouri all hold tigers as their mascots, and now they all share a common objective to save the wild tiger populations across the globe.

The four schools are part of the newly formed U.S. Tiger University Consortium -- named for the mascots they share -- whose primary focus will be research and awareness.

The consortium was started by Clemson University president James Clements, who also serves on the Global Tiger Initiative Council.

"Students, faculty and alumni chant 'Go Tigers' on a daily basis, but not many know the truth about the animal we hold so dear," said Brett Wright, dean of Clemson University College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences, according to a news release from the university. "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, along with representatives from the Consortium and the Global Tiger Forum, recently traveled to India to observe tigers in the wild. Two-thirds of the Earth's total wild tiger population is estimated to live in the country.

"Each of our institutions possess various academic disciplines important to the future of tiger conservation and protection," Janaki Alavalapati, dean of the Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, said in the release. "This is an obvious example of the need for multi-disciplinary contribution, not just across colleges and departments, but across universities."

With the help of university-supported scholarships and assistantships, Wright and Alavalapati hope to train the "next generation of conservation leaders" and put an emphasis on the application of technology that will allow monitoring and data related to wild tiger applications.

According to the Global Tiger Forum, there are only approximately 3,900 tigers remaining the wild.