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Interview: China tiger re-wilding project in S. Africa to top Int'l Wildlife Management Congress

07-09-2012 21:20 BJT Special Report:5th Forum on China-Africa Cooperation 2012 |

JOHANNESBURG, July 9 (Xinhua) -- The 4th International Wildlife Management Congress (IWMC) started on Monday in the eastern South African city of Durban, with the South China Tiger re-wilding program in South Africa to top the agenda.

"This is the first time for Africa to host the international wildlife management congress, attended by approximately 1,000 delegates from the world," the delegate of the congress, Save China's Tigers founder Li Quan told Xinhua by telephone on Monday morning.

The first three congresses were held in the Central American country of Costa Rica, the European country of Hungary and the Oceanian country of New Zealand in 1993, 1999 and 2003 respectively.

"The delegates are from Asia, Europe, Northern America and Africa, such as the U.S., India and Zimbabwe," said she.

Save China's Tigers, founded in 2000 by Li Quan, is an international charitable foundation based in Hong Kong, the U.S. and the UK, aimed to save the endangered South China Tigers from extinction.

The theme of the 4th IWMC is "Cooperative Wildlife Management across Borders: Learning in the Face of Change".

The congress will emphasize on the wildlife scientific management in the world by integrating global efforts into an effective protection, such as endangered species recovery, wildlife population management, trans-border cooperation and conservation, natural resource use and sustainability.

Li Quan told Xinhua on the conference agenda the management of the South China Tiger re-wilding program will occupy the most important position.

"I am happy to say that my team on Tuesday will introduce the successful experience on how we have re-wilded and bred the South China Tigers successfully towards the target of promoting the return of the South China Tiger to nature and how we have helped the restoration of the South African biodiversity through setting up the Laohu Valley reserve, where the tigers are receiving the re- wilding training."

In the world, the wildlife community is facing severe, enormous challenges, including the depleted resources, illegal hunting, and competition for habitats between animals and humans.

The South China Tiger has been classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) since 1996 as it is possibly extinct in the wild.

It was reported no official or biologist has seen a wild South China Tiger since the 1970s.

"There are probably no more than 30 individuals in the wild, while the captive population of the South China Tigers in Chinese zoos is about 100," Li Quan said.

South Africa is the heaven of wildlife with numerous examples of exemplary practices in wildlife protection management, ranging from building natural reserves to other empowerment programs in protecting wildlife.

In 2002, Save China's Tigers established the Laohu Valley reserve in the central South African province of the Free State, starting the project of re-wilding training of five South China Tigers.

"With the birth of cubs, the South China Tigers in Laohu Valley reserve in South Africa have increased from four in 2004 to 14 by 2011, occupying about 15 percent of the total population of the world's most critically endangered tiger," she told Xinhua.

Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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