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Top 6: May 7th 2014

Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute: Endangered Song

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Top 6: May 7th 2014
DDB Worldwide and The Smithsonian's National Zoological Park and Conservation Biology Institute announced today, on Earth Day 2014, the launch of the Endangered Song Project, an analog-meets-digital awareness campaign that calls upon 400 participants to use their social media strength to spread the message that there are only 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild.

The National Zoo and DDB's New York office partnered with Atlantic Records indie rock band Portugal. The Man to distribute a previously unreleased song titled 'Sumatran Tiger.' The song was lathe-cut onto 400 custom polycarbonate records designed to degrade after a certain amount of plays. With no other copies in existence, the 400 participants are tasked with digitizing and sharing the song through their social channels with the hashtag #EndangeredSong. Breeding the song socially will help save it from extinction, thus raising awareness about the critically endangered Sumatran tigers and need for conservation efforts.

Says Matt Eastwood, Chief Creative Officer of DDB New York: "It is our hope that through the Project, the carefully selected participants will be galvanized to share the song along with the frightening statistic for the Sumatran tigers."

The campaign will be supported through a dedicated website,, which features a real-time update of all the social conversations surrounding the project, more about the initiative and how people can help perpetuate the song.

The list of the 400 participants involved in the Endangered Song Project includes a wide range of music artists, noted bloggers, wildlife conservationists, and other social media influencers who were asked to share the song, spread the message and help ignite change.

"Announcing this initiative on Earth Day is a powerful way to share our on-going commitment to securing a future for not only wild tigers but other endangered species," said Pamela Baker-Masson, Associate Director of Communications at the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park and Conservation Biology Institute. "As scientists explore new and innovative ways to conserve wildlife, so must we partner in new and unexpected ways to build awareness and inspire action. Simply put, our job is to save species and ensure a sustainable future for the world we share with all animals."

John Gourley of Portugal. The Man, commented: "Growing up in Alaska, we were surrounded by wildlife and the beauty of the natural world. We learned that we couldn't take these things for granted. Thus the message of this project was very personal to us as a band, and we jumped at the chance to use our music to spread the urgent message of a species in danger of extinction."

With less than 400 left in the wild, Sumatran tigers are the smallest surviving tiger subspecies. Listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, these majestic creatures are found in forests of Borneo and Sumatra. The two major threats to Sumatran tigers are habitat loss and poaching. In addition, deforestation increases the chances of tiger–human conflict. The Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute supports conservation efforts, like the Global Tiger Recovery Program, which is working to double the number of wild tigers by 2022. Together with the GTRP, the Smithsonian hosts courses to train people charged with patrolling tiger ranges to monitor for potential conflicts and ultimately help protect tigers.

The National Zoo's Sumatran tigers participate in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan. The SSP makes breeding recommendations for tigers in accredited zoos to preserve their genetic diversity. Those tigers serve as an insurance population for the approximately 400 wild Sumatran tigers. The National Zoo has bolstered the Sumatran tiger population in human care to date with 15 cubs.
Credits Other credits

Technical Director: Jamie Templeton

Community Manager: Gurbani Chadha

Senior Content Strategist: Ryan Fenn

Band: Portugal. The Man

Band Members: John Gourley, Zach Carothers, Kyle O’Quin, Jason Sechrist

Add’l musicians: Ryan Neighbors

Produced by John Hill and John Gourley

Mixed by Andy Wallace

Management, The Artists Organization: Rich Holtzman

Record Company: Atlantic Music, Inc.

Audio Mixing: Dave Wolfe, Mr. Bronx

Color- Nice Shoes: Lez Rudge

Online- Fluid NY

Client: Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

Associate Director of Communications: Pamela Baker-Masson

Communications Manager: Annalisa Meyer

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