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Focused on Tiger conservation: Auburn’s Tiger United partners with institution in India

By December 7, 2023 February 16th, 2024 No Comments

What do Aubie the Tiger, The Tiger, Truman the Tiger and Mike the Tiger have in common?

They are mascots for the four universities that comprise the Tigers United University Consortium, which includes Auburn University, Clemson University, the University of Missouri and Louisiana State University, respectively.

With their tiger mascots, it makes sense that these schools would be working toward global tiger conservation via this consortium.

IMOU SIGNED AT AUBURN

Auburn specifically was in the spotlight as the College of Forest, Wildlife and Environment (CFWE) leadership signed a new International Memorandum of Understanding (IMOU) with India’s Forest College and Research Institute (FCRI) Hyderabad, of Telangana State, earlier this semester.

Priyankaa Varghese, dean of FCRI Hyderabad, came to Auburn’s campus to sign the IMOU.

“Basically, we have a huge population of tigers in our country, and Auburn is looking to support tiger conservation, so we thought it would be right to partner with Auburn,” said Varghese.

Tigers United University Consortium Director Brett Wright of Clemson said the IMOU is characterized by four tenets: education and training; research; application of technology; and awareness, specifically with students.

Janaki Alavalapati (left), Priyankaa Varghese (center) and Brett Wright participated in the Tigers United IMOU Signing between Auburn University and Forest College and Research Institute Hyderabad.

Janaki Alavalapati (left), Priyankaa Varghese (center) and Brett Wright participated in the Tigers United IMOU Signing between Auburn University and Forest College and Research Institute Hyderabad.

HOW DOES THIS PARTNERSHIP WORK?

Alavalapati is pleased with how the details settled in the Auburn and FCRI IMOU and believes it can serve as a model for partnerships with other global institutions.

“We are so fortunate that we have found an institution to partner with and show to the rest of the tiger range countries that there is a model,” said Alavalapati.

In fact, Wright believes this model could be used to approach other countries, like Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

According to Alavalapati, here is how the model works:

  • The FCRI has three to four graduate students apply for Auburn’s master’s or doctoral program. Auburn then selects one to two students to participate in a program.
  • Upon admittance, the students will be assigned one Auburn faculty member and one FCRI faculty member as co-advisors.
  • The students’ research objectives are agreed upon by both institutions.
  • The students complete classroom education at Auburn and conduct field work in India.
  • Auburn covers students’ expenses on its campus; FCRI covers students’ expenses in India.
  • The agreement is initially in place for six years.

At the IMOU signing on Auburn’s campus, Varghese professed the practicality of the agreement.

“We thought that we have the ground to protect tigers and work for tiger conservation, and Auburn is willing to take up the conservation work. So, this would be a very good area to work together,” said Varghese.

(Written by Amy Burtch)

Learn More on Auburn's Tiger United University Consortium.

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