We summarize our effort as the “Three Tigers”: The Spiritual Tiger, The Cultural Tiger and The Ecological Tiger.
The Chinese Tiger, aka the South China Tiger, is the direct descendent of the ancestral tiger, which originated in China 2 million years ago. There were only 60 South China Tigers left in captivity and less than 30 in the wild when Ms. Li Quan started her initial effort to save the South China Tigers in 1999. The South China Tiger is one of the ten most endangered animals on the IUCN Red list for endangered animals. More importantly, the Chinese tiger has profound spiritual, cultural, and ecological significance.
The Spiritual Tiger: Throughout Chinese history, the tiger has incited in us a sense of both awe and admiration because it embodies power, ferocity, beauty and harmony of the opposites. The tiger is full of life and embodies the spirit and drive to achieve and make progress. No other animal holds more fascination than the tiger.
The Cultural Tiger: The tiger is historically a Chinese cultural symbol. No other animal has inspired more imagination, stories, arts and poetry than the tiger. The earliest tiger statue was found in the Neolithic period in China 8000 years ago; The tiger infiltrates every aspect of the Chinese life: the Year of the Tiger, tiger shoes & hats; the Tiger seal, Tiger Tally and Tiger General; etc.
The Ecological Tiger: Ancient Chinese recognized the role of the tiger at the top of the ecological chain, calling the tiger King of the Beasts, King of the Mountains and King of the Forest etc. With increased human encroachment, the habitats of wildlife continue to shrink. The negative impact this will have on human species is becoming more closely felt, as the decline of wildlife population is synonymous with the deterioration of our nature, on which mankind also depends. In saving the South China tiger, many other plants and animals throughout the entire eco-system can be restored and saved.
Through the conservation of the South China tigers and other flagship species, we hope to restore habitats and other wildlife, promote Chinese culture, as well as bridge understanding between China and others. We hope to encourage China’s commitment to saving eco-systems through a fierce determination to take on such a difficult task as restoring the most endangered South China Tiger. We hope to demonstrate that China could contribute equally in wildlife conservation as much as progress in technology and modernization. We invite the world to join us in encouraging, helping and supporting China in her positive and enthusiastic effort.