Celebration of a Tiger Day Festival is a wonderful tradition initiated several years ago in the Russian Far East by Phoenix, a local non-governmental organization, with support from the international community. Having started as a small school event, which toddled, as a cub, through Vladivostok streets in 2000, the Tiger Day won the city holiday status in a year and grew up into a wonderful festival that leaps boldly across the country, from Moscow to Vladivostok. This year a series of public environmental events devoted to conservation of large predators started on the 14th of September in Moscow, where the Moscow Zoo, in conjunction with AMUR, the Anglo-Russian charity, and KPMG, International Constancy and Accountancy Company, was holding a Tiger and Leopard Day to promote the conservation of the highly endangered Russian tigers and leopards. His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent and Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent, were guests of honour.
On the same day, on the other extremity of the country, in the Russian Far East, the Luchegorsk City in the North of Primorye, greeted the Festival, organized by the Phoenix Fund, in co-operation with Russian Nature Conservation Society, local NGOs and local authorities.
The festival started with a parade through the city. More than 300 children and adults in costumes of bears, tigers, deer and other animals of Ussury taiga took an active part in the procession. They were carrying colourful posters and banners “Save the Amur tiger”, “Save the Bikin river basin”. Schoolchildren from the local villages and representatives of the indigenous people (the Udege) from Krasny Yar village joined the festival.
During the festival the schoolchildren distributed leaflets with the following content: “We are children of the Earth! We want to live without shame that our fathers left dead seas, empty taiga, black skies, poisoned water and thick BLACK BOOK of Extinct Animals for schoolchildren to study the wildlife of their home region. We are children of the Earth! We want to drink pure water from rivers, watch singing birds in the forest. We want to breathe clean air. We want to give this wonderful world to our future generations!”
On the 22nd of September 2002 the Tiger Day Festival came to Vladivostok, the capital of Primorye. It attracted over 3,000 citizens and guests of the city. Art contests, quizzes, and shows lasted all day long. The winners received prizes for the best painting, the best song, and the best costume of a tiger and many others.
The event received broad coverage in the local press. This year the Festival in Vladivostok was sponsored by the Vladivostok City Administration, Phoenix Fund, Wildlife Conservation Society, WWF-RFE, Save the Tiger Fund, 21st Century Tiger Fund, and WildAid.
The festival attracted people’s attention to the most burning issues of wildlife conservation in the region as well as gave them an opportunity to participate in resolving them.