Wildlife

Saving China's tigers in South Africa

li_quan_tiger.jpg
Li Quan with a tiger cub born in South Africa

One hundred years ago there were eight subspecies of tiger. The Bali, Javan andCaspian tigers are now extinct while the Siberian, Bengal, Sumatran, Indo-Chinese and South China tigers are all critically endangered.

An organization called Save China's Tigers is trying to do as their name suggests, and they have a website that describes their project:

"Save China's Tigers"- a UK, US and Hong Kong based charity founded in 2000 by Beijing born and bred Ms Li Quan, is the only charity in the world outside China with a mission to save the Chinese Tiger from extinction.

Li Quan was previously the worldwide head of licensing for Gucci.

One of her organizations main projects is 'rewilding' tigers. This means training zoo-kept tigers for re-introduction into the wild. Stangely enough, this is taking place in South Africa. The website explains:

In order to increase the chance of success, Save China’s Tigers [has begun] rewilding training for the Chinese Tiger in South Africa.

Why on earth South Africa? Africa does not even have tigers. There are several reasons... First, ... for tigers to live naturally, they need at least 15 square kilometres of land. It is very hard to get 15 square meters of land for ONE tiger in China immediately, not to mention a population of several tigers. However in Africa, we have been able to purchase over 300 square kilometres of bankrupt farm land at a relatively low price compared to China.

Also, we can use wild prey animals in Africa for training because wild animals don't lose their instinct, so they run very fast. Take antelope in Africa as an example, that runs so fast that many big cats just can't catch up with them using speed alone. They have to catch the antelope using their brain. Only tigers trained this way will ensure a level of fitness suitable for a successful return to the wild.

Secondly, because of the small space in zoos in general, a change of environment would improve the tiger's health. An outdoor athletic tiger will be healthier and more productive than one kept in a cage.

Thirdly, in South Africa, they have worked with wildlife for many years and are experienced in reintroducing big cats. They have completed successful trials with the wild training of tigers in the past few years and their skills can be applied to Chinese Tigers.

Fourthly, while the Chinese tigers are being wild trained, we will use South African experts to train conservation officers from Chinese Nature Reserves and to instruct Chinese managers in eco-tourism management. This will help us improve the quality of reserve management, and prepare us for high quality wildlife eco-tourism in China.

Last but not least, Save China’s Tigers is endeavouring to help China set up a Pilot Reserve, based on the successful principles of African wildlife reserves. This will be the New Home for the Chinese Tigers, after they are wild trained and have gained ability to survive in wild conditions. All the knowledge and skills acquired by our officers and managers can now be used in this Chinese Tiger Pilot Reserve.

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There are currently 1 Comments for Saving China's tigers in South Africa.

Comments on Saving China's tigers in South Africa

I am happy that people like Li Quan still exist.
Her heart is big like a mountain and she is trying to preserve one of the most beautiful gifts to the mankind. Yes, the (Chinese)tigers are beautiful and the world would be much poorer without them. Artist, children and many "ordinary" preople have had and will always have love and interest towards tigers. So tigers existence is not only for the sake of tigers - it is for the people's sake too.

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