A tiger photographed at Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, India. Narayanan Iyer / WWF-International

Richmond and its official conservation partner, WWF-Australia, are proud to be continuing their partnership to help save wild tigers from extinction.

The Club and WWF-Australia came together in 2018, aiming to double the number of wild tigers by 2022.

Premiership stars and Richmond WWF ambassadors Jack Graham, Toby Nankervis and Nick Vlastuin have visited central India and Sumatra as part of the partnership, gaining a sense of the successful Indian tiger conservation climate to understand how a similar approach could benefit South East Asia.

Nick Vlastuin in a 'Tigers for Tigers' (T4T) shirt representing the TPU established in Malaysia

Through the generous contribution of Club coterie members Craig and Jenni Weinert, Michelle and Aaron Thomas, Russell Telford, Spiro Nikolakakis, Cameron Dunn and Tina Walker an anti-poaching Tiger Patrol Unit (TPU) has been established in Malaysia, a critical tool in protecting tigers in the wild. 

WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman said that WWF was very proud of the partnership with Richmond.

“The passion shown for tiger conservation by Richmond fans, players, and staff is exciting and winning the 2020 premiership was an amazing journey in what has been a challenging year with COVID-19,” he said.

“The snaring crisis in South East Asia is a critical threat to tiger populations, so I’m incredibly grateful that through our partnership, we’ve been able to fund a conservation project in Malaysia to protect tigers in the region. Together we can make sure that tigers win in the wild.”

Richmond CEO Brendon Gale said he was pleased WWF-Australia has been able to make a positive impact in wild tiger conservation through the partnership.

“The tiger is an iconic animal special to our Club. This partnership has given us the privileged opportunity to raise awareness and ultimately support programs that assist wild tigers to thrive in the wild,” he said.

“We look forward to continuing this partnership and working with WWF-Australia to further educate our players, coaches, staff and the Tiger Army about tiger conservation, to help this magnificent creature continue to prosper all around the world.”

WWF-Australia’s Dr Ashley Brooks on the current tiger landscape globally:

“Efforts to recover tigers in the wild continue to plough on despite the challenges that 2020 has throw at us. While most of our tiger landscapes went into some form of lockdown along with many of the communities living across them due to COVID-19, the countries on the sub-continent continued their march on success.

“Camera traps in Bhutan revealed six new tigers in the central south of the country which was heralded as a great outcome of the government’s work there.

“The transboundary protected areas of Manas crossing the Bhutan and India border, along with Pilibhit Tiger Reserve in India received international awards for their achievements at doubling tiger numbers.

“Much further afield but no less relevant, the US House of Representatives passed the Big Cat Public Safety Act to regulate captive tigers. If this passes into law in the Senate, this Bill can serve as a motivation to tiger range country governments to strengthen their regulations around captive tigers. This can go a long way to stamping out illegal trade in their parts.

“Finally, in Malaysia, the efforts of the Tiger Patrol team have been demonstrated where no active snares targeting tigers and their prey were found in the recent patrol period, and in an amazingly rare encounter, the team came across a tiger during one of their patrols. The tiger sensed their presence and fled into the forest. A great experience and hopefully a signal of improvements and success ahead.”

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Members of the Richmond Tiger Patrol Unit in Malaysia, funded by the generous contribution of Club coterie members