Arrival of China tigers put on hold
Updated: 2013-07-27 08:48
By Yang Yao (China Daily)
Training for the wild for South China species 'going well' in South Africa
China is still awaiting a date for the arrival of the offspring of South China tigers it sent to South Africa in 2003.
Five tigers were sent from zoos in China to South Africa that year in the hope that those bred in captivity can be released into the wild after training. The tigers' arrival was scheduled for 2008 if things went well.
However, the plan has had to be delayed.
The tigers are doing well in South Africa. With the second generation of these animals having produced cubs, the number of Chinese tigers there has reached 14, and they have acquired the ability to live and hunt in the wild.
The saga began in 2002 when Save China's Tigers, an international charitable foundation, and the State Forestry Administration's Wildlife Research and Development Center reached an agreement to take a few tigers bred in captivity to South Africa and train them to regain their hunting instincts.
The trained tigers' offspring will be relocated and released into pilot reserves in China, while the original animals remain in South Africa to continue breeding.
"The tigers are ready to come, but when will the country be ready to receive them," said Quan Li, founder of Save China's Tigers.
Lu Jun, head of the general office at the Wildlife Research and Development Center, said there are two reasons for the delay.
"First, was the delay in breeding, as the first tigers to come to China were to be selected from second-generation rewilding South China tigers born in South Africa," he said.
"The second reason was a delay in establishing pilot reserves in China, particularly due to problems with the relocation of people living inside the selected nature reserves."