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?

Project Team Tiger Toolbox Challenge Judges Challenge Prize Acknowledgements

The Think for Tigers challenge is open to anyone affiliated with a college, institute, university (as an undergraduate or graduate student, researcher or academic) or with a nongovernmental, governmental or intergovernmental organisation working in the field of nature conservation, or with a technically creative company. Applicants need to be aged 18 and over to apply.

The deadline for applications is 22 December 2015. You can learn about the challenge by reading the frequently asked questions document.

Project Team

Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much. Helen Keller

Dr. Ozgün Emre Can

Dr. Ozgun Emre Can

Project Leader

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

Dr. Neil D’Cruze

Dr. Neil D’Cruze

Project Advisor

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.

Professor David Macdonald

Professor David Macdonald

Project Director

David is founder and director of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology at University of Oxford. For more information about David you may visit his WildCRU page and follow him on Twitter.

Maggie Balaskas

Maggie Balaskas

Project Researcher

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.

Tiger Toolbox

The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. Confucius

Researchers and rangers use a variety of tools and highly sophisticated statistical methods to study and monitor tigers in the wild.

Natural signs

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.

Tracking collars

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.

Camera-traps

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.

Molecular tools

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.

Challenge Judges

I do not distinguish by the eye, but by the mind, which is the proper judge. Seneca

Dr. Ozgun Emre Can

Dr. Ozgun Emre Can

WildCRU
Department of Zoology
University of Oxford

Dr. Neil D’Cruze

Dr. Neil D’Cruze

World Animal Protection & WildCRU, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford

Professor Adrian Thomas

Professor Adrian Thomas

Founder & CSO of Animal Dynamics Ltd & Department of Zoology, University of Oxford

Associate Professor Andrew Markham

Associate Professor Andrew Markham

Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford

Steve McIvor

Steve McIvor

Acting Chief Executive & International Director of Programmes, World Animal Protection

Professor David Macdonald

Professor David Macdonald

Director of WildCRU Department of Zoology University of Oxford

Challenge Prize

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Lao Tzu

The winner of Think for Tigers challenge will receive a trophy or certificate and will be invited to a ten day trip to visit a field site with tigers.

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to Tugba Can who voluntarily acted as our creative director and also designed the Think for Tigers logo. We are grateful to Hannah Kirby of Legal Services Office, University of Oxford for working diligently to make the Think for Tigers project happen. We thank Jennie Todd who kindly volunteered her time to support the research which was fundamental to delivering the project. We would also like to thank to Tom Windsor and Sasha Richardson for creating this website.