The 17th annual Tiger Day Festival was held in Vladivostok on September 25. This year’s event continued the trend of ever increasing size and interest, with an approximately 15,000 participants and an estimated 50,000 attendees. The event kicked off with a huge parade that included 91 groups representing schools and both governmental and non-governmental agencies engaged in environmental protection. The parade ended in the main square downtown, where entertainment on the main stage was supplemented by a variety of activities for kids were organized around the square. Thanks to the consolidated efforts of city and regional administrators along with conservation organizations, Tiger Day has become one of the biggest events annually held in Vladivostok.
The WCS Team, as usual, participated in the Tiger Day parade, including our staff and students from Pokrovka Elementary School. The turquoise colors of the WCS team provided a nice contrast to the orange-and-black striped motif of all surrounding groups. As the parade participants and observers filled the central square, WCS manned one of the many pavilion tents on the square, engaging children with face-painting, and a variety of games that tested participants knowledge of tigers and the environment in a full, exciting environment.
The idea of a Tiger Day celebration began in 1995, when Vladimir Troinin, a children’s story writer and game biologist began to organize small scale tiger events in libraries, schools and museums of Vladivostok as a means to educate local people, especially children, of the threats to tigers and the need for conservation of the richly diverse Far Eastern “taiga.”.
The late Vladimir Tronin pioneered
and championed the development of
Tiger Day in Vladivostok
It took several years for Vladimir Troinin’s efforts to gain momentum, but in 2000 the environmental NGO “Phoenix Fund” promoted the idea of an annual Tiger Day, and other organizations like WCS, threw their support behind the concept for an event in the city of Vladivostok.
In 2001 Vladivostok announced that Tiger Day would be an official festival to be organized by the city. In those early stages much of the funding to organize Tiger Day was provided by local and NGOS such as “Phoenix Fund”, WWF, WCS and IFAW but over the last five years Tiger Day has reached a new level with the strong support from the Vladivostok city and regional administration as well as the federal government. This year Tiger Day is actually a multi-day celebration, with events stretched out over week that include painting murals in the city; environmental contests, award presentations and even the opening of an Environmental Theater.
Traditionally the main day of the event is focused on the last weekend of September, when downtown is blocked off from traffic and a parade filled with people displaying a wild variety of tiger costumes, along with many other themes, while multiple games and activities with a conservation theme are hosted on the main city square. The festival ends up with a free evening musical concert.
The WCS tent on the square was held wildlife photo exhibition of camera traps set by WCS specialists monitoring Amur tigers and Far Eastern leopards. The photos were supplemented with video recordings also taken by camera traps. On another wall of the tent a series of posters described WCS and the projects it leads in Russia.
Throughout the day WCS staff and volunteers led quizzes and games for kids and adults that were both educational and fun. Via quizzes, tests, and puzzles, participants were provided new and interesting information about the Far Eastern Taiga wildlife – Amur Tigers, Far Eastern Leopards, Blakiston’s Fish Owls and many other species. Participants earned “tiger coupons” that they could turn in to “buy” a souvenirs in WCS tent, including wildlife stickers, magnets, WCS bandanas and T-shirts, calendars and notebooks.
Below you can get a glimpse of this year’s parade and the events surrounding the WCS tent on the main square of Vladivostok.
The central square in Vladivostok on Tiger Day 2016
Preparing the WCS tent prior for the arrival of visitors
WCS staffer Anton Semyonov leads the “Guess-The-Animal Game” just outside the WCS tent.
The “Know-The-Animal-Tracks Game” was one of the most popular.
Children playing the “Wildlife Quiz” inside the WCS tent
Quiz winners were awarded with “tiger coupons” to “buy” souvenirs at WCS tent
Children agonize over which souvenir to choose! One of the most popular souvenirs was the Young Naturalists’ Notebook, which included a concise field guide and useful references for youngsters
Crowds demonstrated huge interest in the activities at the WCS tent all day during the Tiger Day Festival.
Face-painting outside the WCS tent on Tiger Day 2016
Even adults got engaged. Here a Chinese tourist to Vladivostok’s Tiger Day 2016 begins his transformation into a tiger
Not only kids but parents take on tiger stripes at Vladivostok’s Tiger Day 2016
Lots of funny Tiger faces visited the WCS tent on the Vladivostok’s Tiger Day 2016.
And of course the greatest pleasure on Tiger Day is to see the excitement of the children.