July 29th is Global Tiger Day. But, as you know, our commitment to tigers goes above and beyond just this day. 1% of ALL TIGERS sales goes to the protection of wild tigers.
Every ALL TIGERS lipstick and nail lacquer sold plays a clear role in adding to a endowment fund for tigers. But to do what, exactly? On this special day, let’s take a look at this cause we care about so deeply.
During the 20th century, the population of wild tigers went down from over 100,000 to no more than 2,000... In 2010, International Tiger Day was created by the 13 countries where wild tigers can still be found in order to spread awareness about the disappearance of this symbolic animal.
Tigers, 1% shareholder of ALL TIGERS
For ALL TIGERS, the tiger began as a symbol. These vegan and natural lipsticks were created with the community but lacked a name. One day, a woman told our founder Alexis, “I feel feminist and strong, but I still feel threatened by many things, including the ingredients found in cosmetics...” From there, an image was born: the tiger! Powerful yet threatened by an unstable ecosystem... Deep down, we’re all tigers. We are ALL TIGERS.
This saying can easily apply to all of humanity. Tigers remind us of our reality as human beings, dominant while we become more and more aware of the ways we're collectively putting our future in danger.
It's also a state of mind, a way to relay a certain idea of femininity, far from the clichéd ones generally found in organic products, like a field of flowers beneath a spring sun... Our vision? Femininity is like a tiger: it is not diminished, it is not limited, and it cannot be defined. It's unrestrained. It is, first and foremost, free. Never fragile. It's powerful and it's in control. However, this doesn't prevent it from from being fully aware of the threats women face daily. And from here is where the tiger was born.
But it goes beyond its symbol, for a tiger is a real animal. And for us, “exploiting” its image sans royalties didn't make much sense. So, from a symbol, the tiger became a cause. From its very beginning, ALL TIGERS’ founder Alexis made a clear-cut choice: ALL TIGERS is proud to be a part of 1% FOR THE PLANET and is committed to it as such—no matter what, whether we're making a profit or in the hole, we give 1% of all our sales to an environmental NGO.
And luck just had it so. Alexis came to know Veronique Audibert, founder of Poh Kao, an organization that financially and technically supports local protection initiatives which began in Cambodia and are now today in India. You can read Veronique's interview here, which talks about the fight she leads. A passionate and determined woman, she walks the walk rather than just talks the talk. Her aim? Ensuring that local organizations and specific targeted actions are effective and efficient. Your lipstick is helping tigers: for every lipstick sold, 1% of its total price is handed over to Poh Kao for tigers.
Initiatives to help land in danger from lack of resources
Poh Kao has partnered up with local NGO Krapavis to provide technical and financial support as it helps the indigenous people of gorgeous and untouched Sariska, Rajasthan fight for tiger preservation.
A tigress and its young in Sariska in 2018
Please keep in mind that this organization does not benefit from any international funding. Why? Globally, this funding is handed over to large international NGOs (often far from really understanding everything that's required in the field) that prioritize certain preservation zones to the unfortunate detriment of those that truly need it.
And, as Veronique explains it, "there is a giant gap between what some larger organizations say about biodiversity and the reality of smaller structures that focus on hands-on protection of threatened species. This often leads to cutthroat competition for funding, which, in the end, only goes to larger organizations that are essentially more focused on com than the actual issues found at the ground level. The final result? Ineffective or insufficient help. However, it's an emergency.”
In Rajasthan, there are only local initiatives left to save the last of the tigers, and these projects try to stay afloat with dramatically limited resources.
Protecting tigers, numerous challenges
More yet, Rajasthan was badly hit this year by drought and record temperatures that went beyond 50°C (a sad 2019 world record!) and had even caused an international sensation. But, with climate change, drought has unfortunately become commonplace in the region. The horrors of a lack of water not only directly impact the local people, but also their cattle, their only source of income and therefore livelihood.
As it dries up bodies of water and contributes to the desertification of the region, drought also affects the food chain, in which tigers sit at the top. If trees die and vegetation becomes rare, the local population of cattle and deer from which the villagers survive disappears and, in turn, takes away a vital sustenance for top predators such as tigers and leopards. If tigers do not have wild prey to eat, they won't reproduce, and will eventually disappear as a result. Lack of water additionally leads to very serious consequences for the indigenous people of the region in addition to its fauna.
This is because the opposite actually happens as tigers supersede the local population. Some state institutions see the tiger to be a touristic godsend and look to delocalize communities in order to create animal reserves. This situation is also detrimental to these poor villages which should be able to protect and preserve their space. By promoting long-term harmonious coexistence between people and tigers, this program aims to preserve local populations where they are, on their land.
Poh Kao's specific actions
What does Poh Kao actually do in Sariska?
- Its main project is to plant 50,000 trees that are native to the region. As this action combats desertification, it also nourishes the soil and creates natural resources for local herbivores such as antelopes. The more herbivores there are, the more prey there is for tigers to survive on. This way, we're also preventing tigers from turning towards cattle for lack of any other option.
- The organization digs artificial ponds in different areas of the region in order to create bodies of water that are useful for cattle and wild animals.
Local Population Awareness Program
- The final chapter would consist of training local populations to become community rangers in order to follow and protect tigers from potential poachers as they also collaborate with local authorities. A formal agreement of cooperation between villagers and park authorities is established. The organization has also set up a program to teach villagers about the necessity of and threats to biodiversity as well as the ways to protect it and tiger populations. Frequent presentations remind local populations of what to do when confronted with a tiger (“don't place yourself between a tiger and its prey,” etc…) and also underline the importance of tigers for biodiversity and the regulation of herbivores in the region.
Other projects are also in the works, such as the creation of small co-ops to support indigenous economies. Local populations are vegetarian; they are dependent on their livestock's milk as a source of income, to sell or trade for flour for personal use.
Poh Kao is also a part of Prizle, where you can make purchases from partner companies (such as Gap, Cdiscount, Trainline, etc.) through the website and choose a specific commission allocated to Poh Kao.
Thanks so much.
Thank you for supporting ALL TIGERS and thank you for helping us contribute to these projects. Our commitment to Poh Kao is long term.
It might seem to be a bit abstract and far from our everyday life, and it will never truly be a “sexy cause” (something we’ve heard over and over again). Every year, each project will resemble the next. That’s just how it is. You’re not going to see any sensational Facebook videos (or perhaps maybe one day, but not anytime soon!), and there’s not “something new and exciting” to talk about each month. But preserving biodiversity is something that's a long-term goal and therefore strays from flashy Instagram posts, recent trends, and those 15 seconds of fame. Even if tigers and their infinite beauty are an inexhaustible source of incredible images... We have to accept that the project in and of itself is in constant rebirth—a nd this is simply the price we pay to build a beautiful future together.
Photos: Poh Kao ou Vincent Van Zalinge