Working to return rewilded tigers to large protected reserves and
restoring complete ecosystems
Save China's Tigers has taken on an ambitious project to bring the South China tiger back from the edge of extinction by taking them out of zoos, breeding them, letting them regain their hunting abilities and reintroducing them back to the wild in China.
The Project is one of the first for the Chinese government and their conservation initiatives. The effort draws on the skills and experience of scientists from southern Africa, and throughout the world,who have worked successfully in bringing other species back from the brink of extinction.
A pilot reserve in China is to be established using African reserve management expertise, where indigenous Chinese wildlife will be reintroduced into rehabilitated habitat with the South China tiger serving as the flagship species. Conservation efforts will be enhanced by local economic development as well as aspects of unique Chinese cultural heritage that will help to create a holistic eco-
Save China's Tigers and the National Wildlife Research and Development Center of the State Forestry Administration of China has organized teams of experts to survey proposed candidate reintroduction sites in four provinces. The first team arrived in Chongqing City, China on November 1st, 2003 and the expedition lasted a month in Sichuan, Hunan, Jiangxi and Fujian provinces.
A second survey trip was completed in February/March 2004 which conducted an economic evaluation of candidate sites in Jiangxi and Hunan provinces. The team was composed of some of South Afrinca's top wildlife experts and South African government conservation officials. Recent surveys have included other potential sites.
Restoration of the habitat in China will take place under the guidance of Save China's Tigers' experts before prey animals are introduced into the pilot reserve(s), in preparation for the return of the South China tigers from South Africa. Those South China tigers that have successfully regained hunting skills and are able to survive independently in the wild in South Africa will be reintroduced back to China to the protected reserve(s). Protecting the habitat of an apex species requires protecting the plants and wildlife throughout the entire eco-
China's State Forestry Administration should be commended for the extraordinary efforts it is making to save this tiger subspecies through this large scale, coordinated reintroduction effort.
National Wildlife Research and Development Center
State Forestry Administration of China,
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