A COUPLE from Lowton have joined the fight to save one of the world’s most endangered animals.

Dr Corinne Taylor-Smith and her husband David have started the charity Tigers4Ever with the goal of saving the big cat from persecution in India.

The research scientist had dreamed of seeing a tiger in the wild since she was a little girl and it was her first experience with a cub in 2007 that inspired the couple’s commitment.

“Bamera was the first tiger I ever saw in the wild,” said Corinne, now 49.

“He was posing just seven metres away from us and was fully aware of the adoring public he had attracted.

“From then on tigers meant even more to me and I just felt I couldn’t let them go extinct in the wild without trying to do something to help them.”

Tigers4Ever has so far raised £2,700, with much of the money going to support the forest guards who protect the tigers from poachers.

It has paid for mosquito nets and insect-proof clothing to give comfort to the men patrolling areas around Bandhavgarh National Park, many of whom do not even have shoes and carry only a stick for protection from aggressive people and animals.

Education packs have also been delivered to children in the villages where people come into conflict with tigers that have killed cattle.

Corinne and David, of Ranworth Drive, hope the children they educate about the importance of tigers to the local environment, farming and economy, will help get the message across to their parents.

“We want to educate them about the conflict between humans and animals and not tell them they can’t be angry if a tiger kills a member of their family,” she said.

In the next month the couple will return to India to deliver at least another 350 education packs as well as 50 head torches and two bicycles for the forest guards.

A fundraiser is being held at the Imperial Court restaurant in Lowton on Saturday. Tickets are £20 and there is an auction with prizes including a tiger safari in India.

For more details go to tigers4ever.org where you can also make advanced bids for the safari.

Money raised will help pay for more education packs and three art scholarships for young people living in the Indian villages. They will be taught how to paint wild tigers with the intention of selling their paintings and spreading the word about the cats’ place in the forrest.

“The death of one male tiger can lead to the loss of a whole generation so we must do more to help them,” said Corinne.