Thursday, 18 February 2010
WESTS TIGERS TO HELP SAVE CHINA’S TIGERS
Wests Tigers has formed a relationship with the Save China's Tigers (SCT) Foundation to help protect one of the world’s most cherished and loved animals from extinction.
With 2010 being the Chinese 'Year of the Tiger', Wests Tigers is proud to support the Foundation following a meeting with SCT founder Li Quan and its Australian representative, Steven Prassas.
The club will work with the SCT Foundation in China to raise awareness of their vital program which sees actor Jackie Chan as an ambassador. The partnership will also open up doors to potential sponsors and new Wests Tigers supporters.
To show their support for the program, Wests Tigers players and coaching staff wore Save China's Tigers t-shirts during a training session at Concord Oval. Interest in the partnership is already strong in China with footage of the local launch to be used there.
Prior to training, model Bec Fordyce was body painted as a tiger by world renowned body artist Tim Gratton for the launch.
Formed in London 10 years ago, the SCT foundation is dedicated to saving the magnificent South China Tiger from extinction. It is estimated there are less than 100 South China Tigers left with most of them living in less than ideal conditions in China’s Zoos. For millions of years, the Chinese tiger roamed the mountains of China.
The Chinese tiger has been a national treasure and an historic cultural symbol of 'protection' for China and its peoples.
In 2003 and 2004 by agreement with the Chinese Government, 4 zoo born tigers were taken to the foundation’s 300 sq km reserve in South Africa to take part in an ambitious breeding and re-wilding program. Re-wilding involves teaching tigers hunting and survival skills so that they are able to survive in the wild.
South Africa was chosen to implement the Foundation’s program because of its leadership in wildlife management, availability of suitable land and abundant game.
In the last 3 years, 8 tigers were born in South Africa with 5 surviving. One of the two cubs born on March 30, 2008 was named Jen- B after the Foundation received a very generous donation of $75,000 from Jennifer Bone, an Australian passionate about big cat conservation. JenB is now a strong, almost fully grown tiger and along with his brother Coco is developing the skills he will need to hunt and survive in the protected wilderness areas of China.
The Foundation's agreement with the Chinese Government is for the re-wilded tigers to be returned to protected reserves in China. Two sites for reserves consisting of hundreds of square kilometers have been selected for this purpose.
According to Chinese astrology, 2010 is the Year of the Tiger. It is hoped that these two sites in China will be ready for the tigers towards the end of this year.
"The Foundation is very grateful for the support being given by the Wests Tigers Rugby League Club and its players in assisting the Foundation to raise awareness of the plight of the South China Tiger and the magnificent work that the Foundation is doing to preserve this majestic and iconic animal for future generations," Prassas said.