"Branded Extinct”- South China Tiger Cub Named After Australian Jenifer Bone


Save China's Tigers

Press Release

(London June 23, 2008) One of the “Extinct” South China Tiger cubs born two months ago in South Africa has been given the name “JenB” – in honour of an animal-lover whose kindness is helping the campaign to save this beautiful species from extinction.

JenB and his brother (as yet unnamed) were born on March 30th this year and are being devotedly cared for by their mother, Cathay, at the South African reserve of the charity “Save China’s Tigers”.

The animals are part of an ambitious ‘rewilding’ training programme at Laohu Valley Reserve, where they are being prepared for eventual release into their natural Chinese habitat.

The organisation’s founder, Li Quan, today announced the naming of the cub – and explained the significance of “JenB”. Ms Li Quan said Save China’s Tigers decided to name the cub after the late Jenifer Bone, of Sydney, Australia, to commemorate her kindness to the tigers.

Ms Bone, operated a trendy homeware retail business with her sister Rosalind in the fashionable Sydney suburb of Paddington. Jenifer, who passed away on 24 October 2007, was a lifelong lover of big cats and bequested a donation of AUD$75,000 to the project

Ms. Bone’s sister, Rosalind Wood, said: “From quite a young adult age, Jenny developed a major concern for endangered animals, and throughout her business life was a quiet but generous donor to several causes which she followed with enthusiasm.

“However, her greatest love was for the cat family – both large and small. Over the years, Jenny observed with horror the decline of several species of the large cat family, and one of her final wishes was to be to able to support in some way the breeding programmes of one or more of these.”

She continued, “As her sister, I know that she would be happy to know this is what Save China’s Tigers’ rewilding and breeding programme is achieving – in their quest to rescue the magnificent South China Tiger from extinction. May we see more and more of them being bred and reintroduced to the wild over the coming years and may Jenny's contribution go some little way in assisting this cause.”

Steven Prassas, legal representative for Ms Bone’s estate, added, “I was given the responsibility of selecting organizations dedicated to Big Cat Conservation to receive donation from estate monies.

“My initial research led me to contact Save China's Tigers and I got to know more about Li Quan and her unique, bold and challenging initiative to breed and re-wild South China tigers, with the ultimate objective of re-introducing them back into a Chinese wildlife reserve, rather than a cage.

“I had the privilege of visiting the project’s 300-square-kilometre reserve to meet with her and her team and to see her program in action. I will never forget my introduction to an up-close and personal view of the tigers and their cubs in the wild. Their beauty, strength and majesty are simply awe inspiring. After four days at Laohu Valley I was convinced of the necessity of the program and had no hesitation in selecting Save China's Tiger as a worthy recipient to assist in its work.”

“I commend Li Quan and the wildlife management team for their success to date in the breeding and re-wilding of the South China tigers and for their staunch commitment to these magnificent animals to save them from the very real threat of extinction.”

Quan said, “We are extremely grateful for the generous support of the Jenifer Bone Estate. The donation will be put towards our operations immediately. One priority will be building better maternity facilities for the tigresses to give birth in a more secure environment.”

JenB is a strong cub and very healthy. He has lived under different weather conditions, including very cold rainy and windy days, with the care of his mother. He will soon start re-wilding training – still under the maternal guidance of Cathay.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

It might come as a surprise to ‘JenB’ and his siblings at Save China’s Tiger’s Laohu Valley Tiger Reserve, that the World Bank considers him and other South China tigers as extinct. The bank’s recently announced Tiger Conservation Initiative lists the subspecies as extinct in the 1990’s, ignoring that there are 7 tigers at the reserve, another 67 South China Tigers in zoos in China and the fact that some scientists think that 20 or 30 might still exist in remote regions of China. Some of the Initiative’s ‘partners’ include major conservation groups who have written off the Chinese tiger as ‘functionally extinct’. The international body IUCN lists them as ‘critically endangered’.

Save China’s Tigers founder Li Quan says of the Bank’s report, “It makes our fund-raising efforts a lot more difficult when a large prestigious financial organization declares that the majestic animal you are desperately trying to save went extinct decades ago. This is a national treasure of China and heritage of the world. This is the ancestral subspecies of all other tigers. We’re not going to turn our backs on them just because it’s a huge challenge to save them”.

The charity aims to take zoo born tigers from China, rewild them and allow them to learn to hunt for themselves again and to then breed them before returning the wild off-spring back to China.

Since 2003, 4 tigers have undergone rewilding training at Laohu Valley Reserve, 600 km from Johannesburg, the biggest city in South Africa. They have learnt to cope with the elements and to catch a variety of prey from wild guinea fowl and hares to blesbok. They have learnt the necessary hunting skills using stalking and camouflage techniques. To date they have successfully hunted more than 60 blesbok, proving that their natural instinct to hunt has been awakened.

The South China Tiger cubs born in South Africa will be reared by their mother as the first option and learn hunting and survival skills from their parents.

Laohu Valley Reserve covers 330 square kilometres of land in both the Free State and Northern Cape Provinces. There are more than 10 species of endemic game on the reserve including blesbok, eland, springbok, black wildebeest, zebra, ostrich, gemsbok, as well as some small predators such as jackal, caracal and African wild cat.

Since Nov 23rd 2007, five South China Tiger cubs have been born with three surviving. The project has entered into a brand new stage. China is also doing preparation work to establish a Pilot reserve for the eventual return of these new born cubs.

-End-

WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR THE CONTINUOUS SUPPORT OF:

Excelsior Hotel

Cathay Pacific Airways

Asian Tigers

Photos and videos © Save China's Tigers UK Charity No.1082216