What is the Lunar New Year?
The Lunar New Year is one of the most important celebrations of the year in many East and Southeast Asian countries including China, Vietnam, and Korea. Based on the lunar calendar, this time is full of feasting and is meant to honor household and heavenly deities as well as family ancestors. Lunar New Year celebrations usually begin on the day of the first new moon at the end of January, and last until the full moon arrives two weeks later – a 15 day celebration! 2022’s lunar new year is represented by the tiger.
What is the Year of the Tiger?
Every year in the lunar calendar is represented by one of 12 zodiac animals: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. The five elements of earth, water, fire, wood, and metal are also included in the traditional lunar calendar, making this year the Year of the Water Tiger. Each zodiac animal and element represent certain characteristics embodied by those born during that year.
The water tiger symbolizes strength, bravery, and clearing away evil, and it is said that this year we will encounter and overcome new changes, challenges, and difficulties.
What’s going on with wild tigers?
Tiger conservationists across the globe are using 2022 to examine what has worked to help tiger populations since the launch of TX2 in 2010 (the last Year of the Tiger). TX2 was a global initiative launched in order to double wild tiger populations by 2022. This initiative has seen some success – wild tiger populations ARE on the rise, and have doubled in some areas in India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Russia. But there is still more work to be done to ensure the survival of this incredible species.
WWF has compiled a fantastic list of ways conservationists are working to help save wild tiger populations including:
- Connecting tigers across borders via wildlife corridors
- Community-based conservation – engaging local communities in conservation efforts
- Tackling the illegal trade of tigers, their parts and products
- Expanding tiger range
- Moving tigers to new homes – reintroduction to encourage genetically diverse mating
- Rewilding – a tricky approach to conservation that involves introducing captive-born cats into the wild
- Supporting rangers – via app “SMART Patrol”
- Human-tiger coexistence – volunteer community response teams trained to provide support in situations of human-tiger conflict
- Restoring tiger habitat
- Tackling the snaring crisis – Project Stampede
- Employing conservation tools to ensure best practices for managing tiger sites are utilized
- Sustainable financing – working to effectively manage and finance protected areas
This September, tiger range countries will meet again to discuss and set goals for the next 12 years of tiger conservation. To read more about these conservation initiatives, CLICK HERE.
What about captive tigers?
You can always support the rescue and care of captive tigers by visiting or donating to accredited and reputable wild cat sanctuaries like Carolina Tiger Rescue. For a comprehensive list of some of these reputable organizations, check out the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance. You can also contact your representatives and ask them to support the Big Cat Public Safety Act. Lastly, don’t patronize irresponsible facilities, participate in the illegal wildlife trade, or purchase exotic pets.