A Global Online Community Is Created to Save Tigers

Only about 4,000 tigers remain on the planet, a situation that Conservation International hopes to remedy with a new Internet initiative being built on its behalf by online community company HiveLive.

The conservation group was awarded the free online community after participating in Colorado-based HiveLive’s first Community Design Challenge. It plans to call the new community — a place where people from around the world can share, and vote on, ideas — “The Tiger Challenge.” Conservation International Tiger Specialist Judy Mills and HiveLive CEO John Kembel said the site should be launched in the spring.

“This is an exciting thing,” said Kembel. “Part of our goal [in offering a competition for HiveLive community ideas] was to find the most interesting and unique design challenge out there.” He said the Conservation International idea surfaced “pretty quickly” as just the type of idea the company HiveLive’s panel of industry expert judges had in mind.

“There was a passionate cause,” explained Kembel. “There is a strong reason for people to connect.”

HiveLive’s “LiveConnect” product uses a Web 2.0 building-block approach in helping customers build online communities that can take the forms of blogs, wikis, forums or custom applications. Conservation International expects hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people will join the community to help the big cats.

“Lots of people around the world don’t realize how close we are to losing the tigers,” said Mills. “The people who can bring to bear what we need to save tigers are not going to do it unless there is a global movement to do it. We want to create something of an Inconvenient Truth and an Obama Campaign for tigers.”

The Tiger Challenge community will be a place that leverages “the power of many hands to ideate and crowdsource disruptive and innovative approaches,” said Kembel. These ideas will be discussed, sharpened and voted upon by community members. Mills said a big goal of the project will be to get people to not only talk globally but to act locally, especially in China, Russia, India and the U.S.

“Russia and India have the most robust last, best places for tigers,” said Mills. “China is the largest consumer of tiger products and the U.S has many more tigers in captivity than there are left in the wild. So our goal is to get people in these four countries to talk to one another to basically understand the crisis tigers are facing and why it’s happening.”

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