Saturday, 5 September 2015

WILD10 Global Gathering presentation: Rewilding Tigers

I was honoured to be invited to speak at the 10th Wild Congress about rewilding tigers and to be reported by the congress as one of the "Unsung Heroes" (

At the 10th World Wilderness Congress we discovered hundreds of young activists who were working quietly behind the scenes to make the WILD vision a reality. We felt that these people’s activities should be recognised. In keeping with the knowledge that young people are the future, we asked our team of young trainee journalists in the press office to go out and interview them.

Thanks to the World Bank, which acts as global sponsor, there are more than twelve countries involved in the conservation of tigers nowadays. However, when Li Quan started to work for this beautiful animal, she was almost on her own.

It was thirteen years ago when she started the Save China’s Tiger project. As she explains: “All tiger are in danger, but theSouth Chinatiger is particularly threatened, it is critically in danger.” By 2001 some organisations even considered this animal an extinct species, but Li Quan thought: “I’m not going to accept this”. She wanted to helpChinaand she decided to do something about it.

This young woman is proud to be one of the first people to use the word that is much bandied about at WILD10: rewilding. Nowadays this is a commonly accepted term when talking about conservation with many scientists working for it, but back when Li Quan started her project, nobody believed this could be possible.

She had big plans for South China tigers and decided to take these animals from Chinese zoos to South Africa, where there was the infrastructure for ex situ breeding. New offspring are raised there and, when they are mature enough, they are brought back to China; not back to zoos but to the wilderness. A second generation of South China tiger has already been released and so far more than eleven tigers have started to procreate in the wild.

“Thirteen years ago the tiger population was going down and down, now it has been proved that there was a point in what I did”, says Li Quan. “Thanks to this, we are recovering tigers, we are rewilding China”. She feels very committed to the 10th World Wilderness Congress, since its founder, Dr Ian Player, has supported her since the early beginnings of the Save China’s Tiger project. “Now we have Rewilding Europe and other projects, so this is not controversial, but 13 years ago it was”, she explains.

Li Quan does not care about PhDs or renowned prizes, she just cares about tigers and other threatened species. “I don’t have a PhD in Biology, but it doesn’t matter, because anyone can protect and ‘make the world a wilder place’. Without wilderness, we can’t do anything and I hope my story helps inspire other people, especially young people.”

Regarding this, she claims there is no magical formula. “We just have to talk more to children. It’s all about talking. If we have more messages, more people will get involved”. WILD10 seems to be a perfect forum to start spreading these messages.

Interview conducted by Elisa Hernández Sánchez – born and raised in Salamanca, Spain, Elisa is a translation and interpretation graduate, has a Masters in Secondary Education, and a Degree in Art History. On top of all this, she is interested in sustainable communication and cultural dissemination.

Monday, 11 May 2015


We often don't realise that the little acts of kindness, which might even be an afterthought and forgotten by us afterwards, may have profound impact on others, and sometimes change the course of their lives.

I was at a function recently and someone who looked very familiar came over to me and greeted me so warmly as if he knew me very well.  He asked  me how I was, but I couldn't for the life of me remember who he was. I was too embarrassed to ask his name so I introduced him to my friend hoping he would reveal his name to her, but he didn't.

I searched my brain fast and furious to find ways to figure out who he was.  I was more confused when he told me, a bit shyly, that he now owns the shop where he worked before, as if I had also known  about that shop too. He said I should go visit the shop, bringing my friend and it would be his treat.  What shop?? I thought to myself…Another clue that I was supposed to know, but I didn't. I then thought to ask him if he had an updated business card but he suggested that we should scan each other's Wechat.  Sadly his Wechat simply said "David".  But even when he told us his Chinese name it didn’t ring a bell either ..

By chance, I glimpsed the Alias under his name on Wechat describing him as a medical practitioner. All of a sudden It dawned on me that he was the Tuina and acupuncture doctor that I once used years ago. I had given him a little helping hand when he had no job, was illegal and in dire financial condition. I introduced him to someone who owned a clinic in north london and  his life has since taken a dramatic turn for the better.

He was so grateful and phoned me often offering to give me free treatments initially but I never took them up. It’s not easy for people like him making a living, even if it is someone as skilled as he is, so I wouldn't dream of taking him for granted just because I happened to put him to someone who gave him a job.  As years went by  I just forgot all about this entire episode.

Now he has made enough money to own a clinic, a car and even obtained legal status. He seemed well to-to-do and knew quite a few people at the function. Seeing him in such a good state made me feel I had done something worthy.  I have made other introductions to connect people, including a successful marriage, but not all of them were happy stories.  In fact, some results were less than ideal and some even came back to bite me.  But knowing David’s life has changed for the better due to a phone call I made just gave me an un-describable  satisfaction.  

David offered once more to treat me, to serve me, as if he owed his life to me, for something I have done that I’d even consider trivial.  Although the chance of me taking up his offers is slim, but I am immensely grateful to know that should one day I desperately need his help, I have someone to count on.

Here’s to a little helping hand!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

China Tiger Revival (Dire, Desperate, Harrowing...)

Dire, Desperate, Harrowing, Heart-Breaking...

 But Perhaps Not Inevitable. 

We Want to Hear YOUR Views.

Monday, 16 February 2015

SUCH A PAIN, THE GIRL FROM BEIJING (Translated from Wechat)

Over the years I have lived outside of China, I have come across various remarks on me, ranging from the complimentary, to the derogative, and to utter bewilderment. Many people have a stereotypical view of what the folks of so and so culture are like, but when behaviours do not fall into stereotypes, people would comment “oh you are not very Chinese” etc. But just as there are eighty shades of Chinese, there are also more than  eighty shades of Chinese women. 

When I stumbled on this description of women from Beijing as viewed by other Chinese, I thought I should translate and share it here. With the exception of one line, it is amazingly accurate. Many Chinese do not like or can not digest milk, so forget about drinking Sanyuan milk. 

Despite the fact that many Beijingers have ancestral homes elsewhere in China, they inevitably acquire that Beijing character when they are born in Beijing, no matter which part of China their parents originally come from. It is the air, the earth, the sound of the crickets, and the street lives in Hutongs, that make a Beijinger Beijinger.


The Beijing girl is a fast talker, simple-headed, & kind-hearted.
The Beijing girl does not like any contests. She doesn't care if you believe her or not. Take it or leave it.
The Beijing girl does not beg. If you can’t deal with her, she will let you off the hook.
The Beijing girl is not class conscious. She can have a conversation with anyone, anywhere.
The Beijing girl is casual. She likes to wear dark-coloured trousers, sitting wherever she pleases. But she also loves to be clean. 

The Beijing girl is not so lady-like and graceful. She loves laughing and talking loud as she pleases. Only good friends close to her can understand her.
The Beijing girl is not so virtuous. But at least she won’t be waiting for you at home expecting you to bring the spoon to her mouth everyday.
The Beijing girl is not a snob. She loves you whether you are rich or not. The fun lies in two people pulling forces together.
The Beijing girl is simple, believing whatever you tell her.  If you have the gut to lie to me, do I have the nerve not to believe you?
The Beijing girl is not so squeamish. She can bear pain and hardships but the person she suffers for must be worthy of her.
The Beijing girl is polite.  As much as she can be shy, she will still address you cordially.  She is simple.

I am a Beijing girl, rising in the morning with the songs of pigeons in the sky since childhood!
I am a Beijing girl. I SO get tired of the person I love that I treat him better than my own life!
I am a Beijing girl. I just love trashing those closest to me and bickering with them. 
I am a Beijing girl. I will pound the table with my eyes staring at those whose actions I find offensive. No one can stop me.
I am a Beijing girl. I grew up drinking milk made by Sanyuan!

I am a Beijing girl. I must wear cheongsam and hairpin when getting married!
I am a Beijing girl. I am just mischievous as if missing something in my head.
I am a Beijing girl.  I will never forget catching cicadas with bamboo poles in the summer when I was a child.
I am a Beijing girl. I just love bird cages and grasshopper cans, while holding two cracked walnuts in my hands!

Beijing girls are all so proud! And Why Not?! We grew up in the heart of our motherland.