October is World Animal Month and Oct. 4 is World Animal Day, so it was the right time for Korean theme park Everland to hold its own World Animal Day event with the theme “Save the Tigers, Save the Forest.” The event was held together with the Korea Green Foundation, the Yongin Cultural Foundation, and the founder of the Siberian Tiger Protection Society.
World Animal Day
The Catholic Church’s feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi was chosen in 1931 for the first World Animal Day because he was the patron saint of all animals. During St. Francis’ life, many stories were told about his love and care for animals and the environment. On his feast day, many Catholic churches still hold animal blessing ceremonies in his honor.
As the importance of animal welfare and the role of animals in the environment has grown across the world, more and more people and organizations have begun to participate in not just World Animal Day and Month, but throughout the year doing what they can to improve the lives, health, and environment of animals globally.
The eye of the tiger
With 2022 being the year of the tiger according to the Oriental zodiac, this year’s World Animal Day placed a special focus on the welfare of tigers. In 2010, when it was revealed that more than 95 percent of the world’s wild tiger population had disappeared from the earth, 14 countries came together to pledge to double their number by 2022. While that ambitious target has not been achieved, the number of big cats has increased, showing the importance of both attention and actions.
World renowned documentary maker Sooyong Park, who has spent years documenting the lives of tigers and other big cats, came to Everland to talk about the importance of taking care of tigers. Park founded the international charity named Siberian Tiger Protection Society in 2011 after spending decades observing wild tigers up close and realizing the urgency of working to protect them and their environment.
Park has recently published the book entitled Tail, due to appear in English soon, which depicts the last year in the life of an old wild tiger that Park followed and filmed. Touched by this book, the staff of Everland and the Korea Green Foundation worked together to invite Park to Everland for World Animal Day.
Environmental performance group the Yu Sang Tong Project played percussion instruments made by upcycling discarded containers and was invited by the Yongin Cultural Foundation to give a live performance, stirring the crowd to excitement with their upbeat rhythms and tiger masks.
To close the World Animal Day event, the Korea Green Foundation screened a short animation about communion between tigers and humans. In keeping with the theme, audience members sat on chairs made from recycled paper.
A month of events
Although World Animal Day is past, visitors to Everland can still participate in a number of daily World Animal Month events. For example, Sooyong Park’s beautiful exhibition of wild tiger photos and short animations were shown multiple times a day on the big screen at the Four Seasons Garden.
Furthermore, the Korean Association of Zoos and Aquariums has set up booths in the Tiger Valley Area to hand out cute animal notebooks to Everland visitors, and a flea market in Zootopia is selling environmentally friendly products, with part of the proceeds being donated to charity.
Looking back on Everland’s commemoration of World Animal Day, the Everland commented, “For Zootopia, which also serves as a place for the conservation of and education about endangered animals, this event demonstrated the potential of going beyond merely sponsoring conservation groups and campaigns to save animals in a new concept Animal Festival.”
And added, “We hope that Everland, traditionally visited by many children and their families, will establish itself as an excellent conservation leader wielding good influence in the field of animal and plant preservation and environmental conservation.”
For more information, visit the Everland website.