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Springfield Zoo to Name Tiger Habitat “Mizzou Tiger Reserve”

Chancellor, Students Association President, Dickerson Park Zoo officials will be present

August 23rd, 2011

Story Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430, BasiC@missouri.edu

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri Chancellor Brady J. Deaton and Missouri Students Association President Eric Woods joined Dickerson Park Zoo officials on Wednesday, Aug. 24, to announce the naming of the zoo’s tiger habitat as the Mizzou Tiger Reserve.

Mizzou Tigers for Tigers, the university’s mascot conservation program, dates to 1998 and is the first to be established in the nation. Student leaders at Mizzou recently sought to raise awareness on behalf of wild tiger preservation in tiger range countries by generating support for Missouri’s own zoo tigers. Both the number of tigers and the size of their habitats have declined 97 percent during the past century. Of the original nine subspecies of tigers, only six remain; current estimates note that between 3,000 and 8,000 wild tigers live in Asia where they are seriously endangered due to habitat destruction, poaching and the use of tiger bones in traditional medicine practices.

Springfield’s Dickerson Park Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums and home to more than 600 animals representing 160 species. Among the zoo’s residents is a pair of 10-year-old Malayan tigers, “Jalil” and “Petra.”

“Big cats are among the most popular animals with our guests,” said Mike Crocker, zoo superintendent. “The Mizzou Tiger Reserve will help us care for our tigers at the zoo, allow us to expand our conservation support for tigers in Southeast Asia and continue our in-park education efforts.”

In addition to the Missouri Students Association (MSA), supporters include the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; University Bookstore; Mizzou Online; Intercollegiate Athletics; University Affairs and the Mizzou Alumni Association.

“Students at the University of Missouri are very excited to partner with various campus departments to support the tiger habitat at the Dickerson Park Zoo,” MSA President Eric Woods said.  “We are proud to be playing a part in the zoo’s conservation efforts and helping to care for and ensure the future of our beloved mascot. I am confident that this will be a very fruitful partnership.”

Mizzou Tigers for Tigers seeks to become a national leader for tiger education, research on tiger ecology and biology, and in efforts to preserve the last remaining wild tigers. More information can be found at tigers.missouri.edu.

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