Santa Barbara-based Tiger Heroes will be featured at “Solutions for Dreamers” Fridays, a free launch party starting at 5 p.m. Sept. 18 at Oniracom, 720 Haley St., to kick off its campaign to save the remaining 3,200 tigers in the wild.
Experts such as Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, one of the world’s leading big cat authorities, say without tigers in the wild the prey the tigers would usually consume will proliferate and spread disease widely through the Third World and eventually throughout the planet.
The tiger’s plight is a symbol of what is happening to the environment, experts say. At the current rate of extinction, wild tigers will disappear by 2020.
“What would happen if tigers are removed from the habitat? ” asked Santa Barbara-based fine artist Matthew McAvene. “Firewalls to disease and land buffers would disappear.” Tigers’ extinction would allow their prey to carry much more disease to the world’s populations.
The Sept. 18 launch event will feature the unveiling of the first of 10 larger-than-life tiger head sculpture hand-crafted by McAvene.
Ten of these 7 foot by 7 foot by 4 foot lifelike busts will be sold to collectors to help raise $3 million to preserve tigers through the World Wildlife Foundation and Panthera.
The fundraising effort also will raise awareness about the plight of other wild animals such as Cecil the lion, who was lured from an African game preserve, shot and killed by an American hunter. Other recent news about rhino poaching in South Africa also has drawn attention to endangered wild animals.
Jacob Tell, co-founder of Oniracom, a social media company, said Tiger Heroes is a creative team supporting two existing 501c3 nonprofits. “We are a collective of fine artists, creatives and business professionals with a mission to do good,” he said.
The Sept. 18 party also will feature three artists presented by Playback Recording Studios.