South China Tiger
|The South China tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis), although listed as critically endangered by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), is probably extinct in the wild. This leaves captive-born animals as the only stock available for reintroductions.
Save China’s Tigers is a charity that in collaboration with the Chinese State Forestry Administration (SFA) breeds and prepares captive-born South China tigers for reintroduction to restored protected areas within the subspecies’ historic range in China. The ex situ conservation programme is located in Laohu Valley Reserve (LVR), a private captive facility in South Africa. South Africa was chosen to establish the breeding facility as land, free-ranging prey, and wildlife expertise were available.
|At LVR, tigers are provided opportunities under semi-wild conditions to acquire hunting and other survival skills to prepare them for reintroduction in China. However, if these tigers are to be returned to the wild, an objective measure of their hunting performance is necessary. We used Vectronics GPS collars for tiger and for prey, as well as proximity collars for prey in order to determine whether captive-born tigers were able to successfully hunt free-ranging prey and to evaluate their hunting performance as a criterion to select candidates for reintroduction.|
|The second phase of this project will take place in China, once the tigers are back within their historic range. Then hunting performance will be re-assessed prior reintroduction to assure that reintroduction candidates are proficient hunters and can fend for themselves in the wild.
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