Think for Tigers aims to find an innovative idea, product or solution that will help researchers and rangers locate, track or monitor the last 3200 tigers in the wild - to better study and protect them. We are asking to all creative minds and problem solvers from all academic disciplines to Think for Tigers. Can you help us to find a way to improve how we locate, track or monitor the last 3200 tigers in the wild?
Emre is a conservation biologist based at WildCRU, Department of Zoology of University of Oxford. Having a trans-disciplinary mindset, he designs and implements problem-oriented studies that address applied, real-world conservation issues related to large carnivores. For more information about Emre you may visit his WildCRU page and follow him on Twitter
Neil is head of wildlife research and policy at World Animal Protection. Working on animal welfare and conservation issues, his diverse areas of interest include illegal trade in Asian big cats. As a visiting academic at WildCRU, he recently published the first data on the global trade in clouded leopards. For more information about Neil you may visit his WildCRU page.
Maggie is wildlife coordinator at World Animal Protection. She researches the welfare and conservation implications of the trade and exploitation of wildlife. Having managed research projects in the field, she is particularly passionate about identifying humane solutions which can be used to protect wildlife.
Researchers and rangers can verify the presence of tigers in a given field site by searching and locating tracks, scats and other signs that tigers may leave behind.
However, finding natural signs can be very difficult and laborious depending on the habitat, type of terrain and weather conditions.
Once put on a tiger, tracking collars send signals which can be used to locate it. Depending on the type, the collar can record the GPS location of the animal and send the data to a receiver either via a GSM network or a satellite.
However, collars are expensive and require a team with the necessary skillset and equipment. The tiger would also need to be located and anesthetised in order to fit the collar.
A typical camera-trap is composed of a digital camera, motion sensor, memory card, and battery unit and usually enclosed in a water-resistant housing. Once placed in suitable locations in the field, camera-traps take still or moving images of tigers that are passing by the unit.
However, they require regular maintenance as the memory cards can become full, batteries may die and there is always a risk of vandalism or theft.
By collecting the samples animals may leave behind such as scat, hair and urine, researchers can use DNA as a diagnostic marker to determine the sex and individual identification of animals.
However, the use of molecular tools requires particular skillsets, equipment, and the collection of samples from the wild is arduous. Storing and transporting samples requires following certain protocols that aren’t always easy to achieve in remote sites. Obtaining permits and shipping genetic samples to a lab is never straightforward.
Department of Zoology
University of Oxford
World Animal Protection & WildCRU, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford
Founder & CSO of Animal Dynamics Ltd & Department of Zoology, University of Oxford
Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford
Acting Chief Executive & International Director of Programmes, World Animal Protection
Director of WildCRU Department of Zoology University of Oxford