WACO, Texas — A book read by Mahalie Johnston in the third grade sparked a mission to save the tigers.
The now fifth-grader at Bosqueville Elementary was at the Party for the Planet at Cameron Park Zoo in Waco with her partner Ava Holt and their families.
"In third grade, I had read this book about poaching and deforestation, and I went up to Ava and told her about it and she really wanted to help," Johnston said.
Despite being in elementary school, the two girls have organized fundraisers, gathered supplies and different tiger apparel and merchandise, and now sell them. During their first year, the girls raised $1500 dollars to save the tigers.
"We came to the zoo and asked if we could help and it became this huge fun thing, we never expected it to get this big," the girls said.
Their table was packed all afternoon as they pitched their case to each zoo guest, asking for funds.
This year's goal is $2500. Whatever they raise will also be matched by the Zoological and Botanical Society and all be donated to the Tiger Conservation Fund.
On top of helping the animal, the girls would also be excited for their names to be proudly displayed at the zoo's entrance on a sign with other donors.
"If we get our names on there, its gonna feel like being famous, it's gonna be like a dream come true for us," Johnston said.
They say they are close to their goal, and the zoo couldn't be happier.
"This is so incredible and their awareness of what's happening to Tigers and their wanting to educate people what's happening to Tigers, its incredible," Connie Kassner, education coordinator, said."
Three subspecies of tigers are already extinct and the remaining six are all endangered. The Tiger Girls know they are making a difference and won't be stopping anytime soon.
"I am so happy that we've come this far and like she said if we can do this now when we are only fifth graders, just imagine what we can do in the future," Holt said.
You can donate through Venmo by sending donations to @TigerGirls
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