Photo: Salomé Barrot

Heinrich Funck, Reserve General Manager, Laohu Valley Reserve

                               Director, Save China’s Tigers (UK)

Heinrich was raised on a farm outside Brandfort in South Africa's Free State Province. In 1978 Heinrich moved with his family to Philippolis district where he now owns a small farm. After finishing school in 1980 he joined the South African Police force, but left the police force in 1987 with the rank of Detective Warrant Officer to join a local short term insurance company as an investigator/loss adjuster/assessor. He moved to another company and was appointed Claims Manager in 1988. In 1995 his love for nature and the outdoors eventually lead him to pursue the occupation of problem animal control in farming areas. Heinrich trained more than 3000 farmers over a period of 16 years to manage the difficulties of human and wildlife conflict issues. He has been involved with Laohu Valley Reserve's tiger conservation program since 2006 on an ad hoc basis and was appointed manager of Laohu Valley Reserve in June 2009.

Sanet Steyn, Hospitality Manager, Laohu Valley Reserve

Started her career as an administrative clerk in 1985 with Standard Bank and later worked for Trust Bank and Midrand Town council and later Lodge Manager for hunting outfitters in the Eastern Cape. She and her husband developed and managed a Guest House in Mossel Bay and a game farm in Naboomspruit. From 2007 to 2011 she worked for Grinaker-LTA in accounts as Creditors Supervisor. She joined Laohu Valley Reserve in May 2011.

Thinus Steyn, Assistant Reserve Manager, Laohu Valley Reserve

Raised in Gauteng. Started working as a laboratory analyst at SASOL and later MOSSGAS (now PETROSA) where he worked as a Research Analyst and later, a professional hunter. He worked for several safari companies in the Eastern Cape, as well as setting up and running a guest house in Mossel Bay, developing and managing a game farm near Naboomspruit and later a business in the Vaal Triangle. He joined Laohu Valley Reserve in April 2011.

The Team


Save China's Tigers includes a small and efficient team of paid professionals and many volunteers and supporters who freely provide their services. We are grateful to all of those who gerously give us their time, which enable us to invest more funds into the field projects.


Scientific Advisors

China Green Carbon Foundation

Chinese State Forestry Administration

Conservation Finance International

Global Tiger Initiative

Endangered Wildlife Trust

Leadership for Conservation in Africa

Save China’s tigers is a small but efficient organization and currently do not have any volunteer opportunities. Many of our positions require experienced and skilled team members. We greatly appreciate those people who have donated their services in the past.

We thank the following organizations and individuals for having contributed in various ways to help our cause:

Society For Ecological Restoration

Wilderness Foundation

Fujian Provincial Forestry Dept

Hubei Provincial Forestry Dept

Hunan Provincial Forestry Dept

Jiangxi Provincial Forestry Dept


About Volunteers

“The Tiger and the dragon are two intertwining threads of ancient Chinese culture. It is the duty of every conscientious human being to join in the effort to save the Chinese Tiger from extinction.”

 - Jackie Chan 


Many thanks to our sponsors who are helping to save China's tigers by having provided various supportive contributions. Please visit their websites by clicking on the icons (a new window will open in your browser).

International Film Star. Philanthropist,

Ambassador for SCT.





WESTS TIGERS, Rugby Sydney






Brad Nilson, Director, Save China’s Tigers (UK)

Brad holds a Masters degree in Environmental Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University. Brad has worked for the US Forest Service and has been a consultant to the US Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy. Brad has also advised small technology firms in the evaluation and commercialisation of renewable energy technologies.

Kun (Michael) Shang, Director, Save China’s Tigers (UK)

Michael holds a BSc in Financial and Business Economics from Royal Holloway University of London. He has spent over 10 years in the UK with excellent knowledge and experience in bridging Chinese and western cultural differences.

David Lui, Director, Save China’s Tigers (Hong Kong)

Successful career in investment banking and based in Hong Kong, David shares a passionate concern for preserving China’s tigers and ecosystem.

Gary Verstick, Managing Director, Save China’s Tigers (Hong Kong)

Graphic designer and communications specialist skilled in: film, videos, television commercials, print publications, web communications and branding for major corporations.  Always an environmentalist, he has volunteered for many NGO’s including EcoCity, ActLocally and the David Suzuki Foundation.  

Dr. Jeremy Anderson

Jeremy has been professionally involved in wildlife conservation for more than 30 years. He worked for several years with the re-introduced lion population in Umfolozi and Hluhluwe Reserves on resolving the issue of maintaining a viable population with a minimal level of human/lion conflict. He then became the first director of Pilanesberg National Park and was responsible for coordinating of the rehabilitation and stocking of the area. He subsequently became director of the then Kangwane Parks Corporation and headed the development of the organization and the establishment of three new reserves and more re-stocking programmes including lions. He has consulted in wildlife conservation in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. This work has focused largely on the development or rehabilitation of protected areas. He is a member of the IUCN Antelope Specialist group and the Africa Lion Working Group and is a partner in the firm International Conservation Services.

Gerhard Damm

Gerhard is the publisher and editor of the electronic newsletter African Indaba ( Gerhard is a board member of the US based organization Conservation Force ( He has a great passion for conservation and the sustainable use of wild natural resources. After travelling the world and living in Asia, South America, and Southern Europe, Gerhard, a native German, settled down in South Africa in 1994.

Richard Davis

Richard has worked in conservation since 1984, initially in the field where valuable hands-on experience was gained. He is now working at making conservation projects more economically and financially viable, while still conserving critical ecosystems and species.

Gus Van Dyk, Rewilding Strategist

Gus was Head of Carnivore Management at Pilansburg Reserve and was key in the reintroduction of various wild carnivores: lions, wild dogs and cheetahs. He was acknowledged as leader of carnivore re-introduction, in particular, lion reintroduction. Gus was responsible for drafting the SCT tiger rewilding strategy. He is now Reserve Manager for Twalu.

Eddie Van Ecke

Owner of Lory Park Zoo, which he established starting with his passion for birds. The Sanctuary has since grown significantly and he has been given invaluable input to the South China Tiger Project.

Howard Geach

Howard holds a BSc in Mining Engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand (1981). He was a Field Guide and director of Wilderness Leadership School (1978-1991). He worked for De Beers and Anglo American Corporation in various line management posts until co-founding Conservation Corporation (1991). In 1997 he joined Blanchard Mozambique Enterprises as CEO of the Reserva Especial do Maputo concession. He is a founder director of imPafa Technologies, NXCO Mining Technologies and PSC contracting and is also director of Loahu Valley Reserve property companies.

Hon. Robert Hanson

After broad experiences with N M Rothschild, BICE Chileconsult and Hanson PLC, Robert Hanson founded Hanson Capital Limited.  During his previous work in Hong Kong, China, Robert learned to appreciate Chinese art and culture.

Dr Lu Houji

Lu Houji is a retired Professor of Ecology and former Director of the International Center for Conservation Biology. His interests in research are wildlife conservation biology, management of endangered species, and the behavioural ecology of mammals. Dr. Lu is also a member of the IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group and the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group.

Claudine Kolle

Ex-General Manager of SCT-HK, author of Tang the Tiger Cub, and has donated, along with the book's illustrator, all royalties to SCT. She is an accomplished independent journalist who has had articles on the South China tiger's plight, which have appeared in Asian Geographic and the South China Morning Post.

Dr. Hector Magome

Executive Director of Conservation in South Africa National Parks (SANParks), in charge of all aspects of biodiversity conservation science including policy research, policy writing and monitoring implement of policy guidelines. Hector has been involved in biodiversity conservation for 21 years.

Don McRobert

Patent Attorney and former President of the Chamber of Commerce, Pretoria and served on the International Chamber of Commerce, Paris. He is a past Chairman of the National Zoo (Pretoria). He is a former Chairman of the National Symphony Orchestra; and is currently Chairman of the South African National Ballet Theatre.

Louis van der Merwe

Louis is an international consultant and teacher in Scenario based Strategy, and Leadership Development. He is the founder of CIL (est. 1989) His work in South Africa has been recognised by the UK House of Lords and his Scenario work by Shell International. Past work and clients include a.o. Shell, Eskom (SA), University of Natal, SABMiller, The Open University, United Nations (UNAIDS), Amnesty International and the World Wildlife Fund.

Mike Pitcher

Retired from the position of Vice Chairman, Asia Pacific, with Barclays Bank in 1999 and prior, C.O.O of Barclays, UK Banking Services. A Hong Kong resident, he has several non-executive directorships in Asia and Europe.

Rumit Shah

Rumit holds a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics (1981). He qualified as a chartered accountant in 1984 with Arthur Andersen and as a Chartered Tax Advisor in 1985. Rumit worked at Samuel Montagu & Co Ltd before working at both Bankers Trust and Deutsche Bank for over 17 years. Rumit has worked on numerous cross-border transactions, including secondary leasing, intellectual property, and preference shares and is experienced in origination and execution and the development of products.

Marc Stalmans

Marc is an ecologist with 19 years of nature conservation management and development experience in the public, parastatal and private sector. He has been involved in projects in a number of African countries (Angola, Cameroon, Gabon, Mocambique, South Africa, Togo and Zimbabwe) as well as in Dubai (Middle East). He holds a Forestry Engineering degree, a MSc Degree in Botany and a PhD in Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences. He has published more than 20 popular and scientific articles and has presented a numbers of papers at international symposia. In addition to his field knowledge and experience he is skilled in Geographic Information Systems, analysis and interpretation of remote sensing imagery and in the analysis of multivariate data.

David K Thomas

David has always been a lover of cats, on top of being an investment banker resident in UK. Offering to help save China's big cats suits him perfectly.

Gus Van Dyk, Rewilding Strategist

Gus was Head of Carnivore Management at Pilansburg Reserve and was key in the reintroduction of various wild carnivores: lions, wild dogs and cheetahs. He was acknowledged as leader of carnivore re-introduction, in particular, lion reintroduction. Gus was responsible for drafting the SCT tiger rewilding strategy. He is now Reserve Manager for Twalu.

Petri Viljoen

Petri has more than 35 years professional wildlife experience, including research on large carnivores and wildlife population trend studies, as well as wildlife management projects, wildlife capture and relocation, problem animal control, aerial survey methodology and environmental assessments. He has worked as a professional ecologist for a number of agencies including South African National Parks. He has been active as a private environmental and wildlife consultant on a wide range of ecological, environmental and technical projects in South Africa, Zambia, Republic of the Congo, Botswana, Rwanda, Malawi, Senegal, Mozambique, Tanzania, China and Portugal. Petri is also a member of the IUCN Antelope Specialist Group, Society of Ecological Restoration the African Lion Working Group. He is the author on aspects of wildlife management, several scientific papers and popular wildlife articles. He has given technical and scientific presentations at numerous international scientific conferences and workshops.

Dr. Zhiming Xu

A partner of China Broadband Capital, LL.P., Dr. Xu graduated of Peking University with a B.S. in Physics, Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences with a M.A. in Economics, and in 1993 from University of Manchester in the United Kingdom with a Ph.D. in Economics. Dr. Xu was an economist, investment banker and director of several major companies.

Zhao Zhongxiang

Mr. Zhao has been the anchor for, Man & Nature, a TV program dedicated to the environment for many years. He is also the Senior Teacher at the Chinese Central Television in P.R.C.

Dr. Peter Crawshaw

Dr. Peter Crawshaw is a field biologist with the National Center for Research and Conservation of Carnivores (CENAP/ICMBIO) in Brazil, with the federal government. Despite the name, Peter was born in Sao Vicente, in the state of Sao Paulo, being from British descent. Graduating in southern Brazil in 1977, he started a life-long career studying wild cats, working initially on jaguars, with Dr. George Schaller, in the Pantanal of Mato Grosso. With a Masters and PhD from the University of Florida, USA, he has conducted personal research and participated on several other projects throughout Brazil.

Dr. María Fàbregas

Dr. María Fàbregas is a post-doctoral research fellow at University of Pretoria (South Africa). Her research focuses on hunting performance and reproductive activity in South China tigers, as well as their adaptability to new environments. She’s been to tiger range countries such as India and Kazakhstan to share the re-wilding methodology followed at Laohu Valley Reserve with other tiger professionals.  With a Masters in Biology and a PhD in Ethology, she has more than 12 years of wildlife biology experience, with a focus on animal behavior, animal welfare, and conservation matters. She has worked with different taxa, from ants to tigers, and in a variety of research topics ranging from invasive species to animal welfare issues. She started her professional career in Disney’s Animal Kingdom (Florida USA), and she has also been involved in the Iberian Lynx Captive Breeding Programme (Doñana, Spain). In addition to her research, she taught animal behavior, animal welfare and research methodology for five years at Cardenal Herrera University (Spain) before she moved to South Africa to start her post-doctoral research.

Dr. Gary Koehler

Dr. Gary Koehler has been a Wildlife Research Scientist with Washington Dept. Fish & Wildlife, Senior Lecturer at Moi University, Kenya, and has worked for the Hornocker Wildlife Institute, University of Idaho. In 1990/91 with WWF/Hornocker Institute he conducted the first significant Survey of South China Tiger and as a result China implemented the South China Tiger Action Plan. He is a member of IUCN Cat Specialist Group, The Wildlife Society, Society for Conservation Biology, Phi Sigma Honor Society and has authored and co-authored over twenty reports and publications.

Dr. Laurie Marker

Dr. Laurie Marker is Founder and Executive Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) with its headquarters in Namibia, Africa. Having worked with cheetahs since 1974, Laurie set up the not-for-profit Fund in 1990 and moved to Namibia to develop a permanent Conservation Research Centre for the wild cheetah. In 1992, CCF became a registered Namibian Trust. CCF's ground-breaking activities are housed at their International Research and Education Centre in the main cheetah habitat of the country. In July 2000, CCF opened a field research station to the public featuring a Visitor's Centre as well as a Cheetah Museum and Education Centre. Dr. Marker's and Cheetah Conservation Fund's long-term goal is to develop a conservancy for cheetahs on Namibia's livestock farmlands in cooperation with farmers and local communities. Conservation of this last large stronghold for cheetahs will determine if the species will survive for future generations.

Dr. Stephen J. O'Brien

Dr. Stephen J. O'Brien trained in molecular and population genetics at Cornell University. He joined the National Cancer Institute as a post-doc in 1971 and is now chief of the NCI's Laboratory of Genomic Diversity, which he founded in the late 1980s. The Laboratory of Genomic Diversity has assembled over 62,000 animal and 424,000 human tissue/DNA specimens, facilitating wide-ranging studies of disease gene associations, species adaptation and natural history by O'Brien's many colleagues. Dr. O'Brien is also known for documenting the remarkable genetic uniformity of African cheetahs, resolving the taxonomic riddle of the giant panda's evolutionary origins and for describing heretofore unrecognized species of orangutans, African forest elephants and Bornean clouded leopards. He is credited with the discovery of CCR5 delta 32, the first of 20 human AIDS restriction genes, as well as leading the Feline Genome Project, a major player in comparative genomics across the mammalian radiations.

Dr. Jim Sanderson

Dr. Jim Sanderson is the founder and director of Small Wild Cat Conservation Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not for profit charity. He is Director of International Programs for the Wild Cat Research and Conservation Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, a member of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group, the first Fellow of the Wildlife Conservation Network, Feline Conservation Federation, and is an associate editor of the Wildlife Society Bulletin, Jim received his PhD from the University of New Mexico in 1996. He has published more than 100 peer reviewed articles and has co-authored 4 books. Much of his time is spent outside the USA surveying, raising awareness, and monitoring for the rarest and most threatened wild cats on earth.

Dr. David Smith

Dr. David Smith has studied the behavior, ecology and conservation of tigers in south and southeast Asia for 25 years, specifically tiger social organization and dispersal patterns. Interest in dispersal led to long-term monitoring of individual animals and an interest in metapopulation structure of large mammals. He has extended his research on Asian mammals to include projects on small carnivore communities, tropical bear ecology, and the ecological separation of gaur and banteng. Recent research has focused on the use of remote sensing, conservation data bases and modelling as conservation tools. Dr. Smith is using these methodologies to explore approaches to conservation that are based on influencing human land use patterns outside traditional park and reserve systems in Asia.

Dr. Nobby Yamaguchi

Dr. Nobby Yamaguchi has research interests in evolution and conservation of large cats, and bringing more testable and quantitative science into conservation decision-making. After obtaining a DPhil from the University of Oxford, UK, in 2001 Dr Yamaguchi has been involved in projects concerning evolution and conservation of tigers, lions, and wildcats. One of his strengths is studying natural history collections (e.g. museum specimens) for obtaining useful information for conservation of species. Although Dr Yamaguchi does not overlook the importance of "political" and "diplomatic" aspects in conservation, his main interest is scientifically testable parts of conservation. Dr Yamaguchi is now based in Qatar University, Doha, Qatar.

Read Sophie Mottram's story of fundraising and her generous donation.


The Team


Scientific Advisors




Meet the Team

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The Team


Scientific Advisors




Meet the Team

Quick Links


The Team


Scientific Advisors




Meet the Team

Quick Links

Stuart Bray, Founder, Save China’s Tigers UK

Stuart holds a BA (cum laude) in Mathematics from The Colorado College (1984); he was the Laurence Moh Scholar at the Wharton School where he graduated in 1989 with an MBA in Finance and Marketing. He worked at Bankers Trust from 1990 to 1999 where he was a Partner, Senior Managing Director and Global Head of Structured Arbitrage. Following the takeover by Deutsche Bank in 1999, he was Global Head of the Structured Transaction Group at Deutsche Bank. He is passionate about nature and has been supporting Save China's Tigers and his cause with great determination.