Speed Reads

Save the tigers

To bring attention to a vanishing animal, rock band Portugal. The Man releases a disappearing record

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To draw attention to the plight of the endangered Sumatran tiger, rock group Portugal. The Man has released a limited edition record that literally disappears after repeated listens.

The band collaborated with the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park Conversation Biology Institute and ad agency DDB to release "Sumatran Tiger," inspired by the beautiful animals that inhabit the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Because there are only an estimated 400 tigers left in the world, the band pressed only 400 numbered vinyl albums and sent them out to "influencers from all walks of life," including politicians, journalists, bloggers, and conservationists. To draw a parallel to the tiger, the records are also endangered, having been specifically designed to degrade over time. The receivers are urged to upload the song online to keep it around before it's gone forever.

Organizers decided to focus on the Sumatran tiger because "the number of this particular species left in the wild was particularly dire," says Pamela Baker-Masson, associate director of communications at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. "We didn't want to have a campaign that would feel so hopeless and overwhelming, but would still demand of a person to stand up and do something."

The members of Portugal. The Man were only too happy to raise awareness for the tiger. "Growing up, I would see friends' families where that dad had just gone out hunting and bring home a bear, and I'd say, 'I've never even seen one and you're so stoked that you just killed one? Couldn't you go out and take a picture?'" frontman John Gourley told Billboard. "It's really offensive, and the reasons these things and animals just disappear can all be prevented." Check out a video about the project below. --Catherine Garcia