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Conservation

The South China tiger is the ancestral root of all tigers, a national, cultural icon of China, and yet it is the most critically endangered of tigers with about 100 left in captivity.


Our mission is to restore, reintroduce and protect a genetically viable population of South China tigers and its biodiverse ecosystem.

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The South China Tiger, also known as the ‘Chinese’, or ‘Amoy’ tiger is considered critically endangered by the IUCN. There are few, if any in the wild, with the last confirmed sighting over two decades ago. There are currently about 100 in captivity in Chinese zoos, reserves and in the care of Save China’s Tigers.

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Important

Rewilding Research Paper Published

Vivienne McKenzie

In Loving Memory of

Reserve Game Count Completed

The count was performed by Environmental Consultant, Petri Viljoen who has conducted previous game counts for LVR. A Robinson R44 Raven helicopter was used, piloted by Andre du Plessis of Mossel Bay Helicopters and flying at approximately 80 m above ground and transecting some 873 km. The count was assisted by LVR Assistant Manager, Thinus Steyn.


The report summarises results obtained in the Free State section of LVR in October 2017, an area of 220 km2. It included a wide variety of large herbivores including common zebra, warthog, greater kudu, eland, grey duiker, steenbuck, mountain reedbuck, waterbuck, springbuck, impala, blesbuck, red hartebeest and black wildebeest. Carnivores seen during the survey included black-backed jackal and bat-eared fox. Two primate species are present, chacma baboon and savanna monkey. Other species encountered included ostriches and larger bird species such as blue cranes. Two adult male cheetahs were released in LVR during 2013 and an adult female cheetah has subsequently also been released. The cheetah were not seen during this aerial census.


A number of georeferenced photos were taken during the game count of some of the larger herds of animals and the photos were also used to confirm the totals of specific blue wildebeest and other smaller eland herds.

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Breeding

An ambitious and successful breeding program has increased the population base and gives the subspecies a chance to recover from the genetic bottleneck and the brink of extinction.

The South China Tiger Project has supported researchers and scientific studies across many disciplines such as cheetah reintroduction monitoring, camera-tracking photogrammetry and prey consumption rate assessment.  

Research

SCT continues to work with our partner, the State Forestry Administration, Wildlife Division in infrastucture planning and survey of candidate sites in China for future reintroduction of rewilded tigers.

Reintroduction

Rewilding

SCT has innovated a conservation model that sees zoo-bred tigers made wild again. ‘Rewilding’ allows tigers to rediscover lost hunting skills such as camouflage, stalking, and ambush of wild prey such as boar and ungulates.


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By protecting an apex predator carnivore, we are protecting its prey and the entire food chain - the complete biodiversity of its ecosystem. Restoring the tiger means restoring its habitat.

Biodiversity

South Africa was chosen for its relatively cheaper land, abundant prey, conservation expertise and wildlife management skills. Laohu Valley Reserve encompasses over 300 sq. km bordering the Orange River.

Why Africa - Restoration

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Detailed maps were produced such as this one showing groups of large herbivores.


A comprehensive aerial game count and report has been completed at the Laohu Valley Reserve. At approximately 330 km2, it is one of the largest protected areas in South Africa, and includes sections on both sides of the Orange River in the Northern Cape and Free State provinces. The reserve was established in 2000, primarily to serve as a base for the rewilding and ex situ breeding of captive-born South China tigers. LVR started an environmental restoration programme in 2005 which includes the removal of invasive plants and the management of wildlife.

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