Tiger Conservation Heroes

Three of the nine tiger subspecies have become extinct in the last 70 years: the Caspian, Javan and the Bali tigers. All six remaining species of tigers are endangered. But there are people working tirelessly to ensure these beautiful creatures thrive and are protected. Let’s find out more about the superheroes of the tiger world.

What are Tiger Conservation Heroes?

Tiger conservation heroes work tirelessly to protect and preserve tigers and their habitats. They address various threats faced by tigers including deforestation and habitat loss, poaching and human-wildlife conflict. While many groups and individuals have dedicated their lives to tiger conservation, here are some of the most memorable.

Valmik Thapar 

As a pioneer in Indian tiger conservation, Valmik Thapar is a wildlife expert who has produced and narrated documentaries on India’s natural habitat for such media as the BBC, Animal Planet, Discovery and National Geographic. In particular, he has spent decades following the fortunes of India’s tiger population. His famous bond with ‘Macchli,’ a female tigress, is documented in some of his chronicles.

Kailash Sankhala

Also known as the Tiger Man of India, Kailash Sankhala was a biologist and conservationist, and stood up for tigers in an age when hunting was still common. Dedicating his life to the protection and conservation of tigers, he recognised the very real threat of extinction and played a key role in the establishment of Project Tiger in India. This was the first wildlife conservation program specifically aimed at protecting the Bengal tiger.

Li Quan

Born in Beijing, Li Quan is now a London-based wildlife conservationist. Formerly employed in the fashion industry, she switched her focus to tigers after seeing the poor conditions in which they were living in South China. She introduced the concept of rewilding captive tigers, and persuaded the Chinese government to allow her to move captive tigers to Africa with the goal of releasing them into the wild. She founded Save China's Tigers in 2000, and aims to save the country’s tigers from extinction. 

Julian Matthews 

In response to plummeting tiger numbers across Asia, Julian founded TOFTigers in 2004 and remains the main driver of the organisation. Matthews is a conservationist, eco-entrepreneur and pioneer in responsible travel, largely focusing his efforts on anti-poaching and community engagement to protect tiger habitats. He also believes that, done properly, animal tourism can actually help to save wildlife and safeguard habitats, so long as the money is used appropriately.

Dr. Alan Rabinowitz

An experienced and well-respected conservationist and zoologist, Dr. Rabinowitz dedicated much of his life to the conservation of big cats, including tigers. He co-founded the Panthera organisation, which works on the conservation of wild cats around the world, including tigers. Called the Indiana Jones of Wildlife Protection by Time, he studied all forty of the world’s wild cat populations including jaguars, clouded leopards, Asiatic leopards, leopard cats, civets and more.

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