The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's Director Dr. Steve Montfort, and Save China's Tigers' Founding Director Ms. Li Quan, co-presented at the ICCF congressional briefing on June 22nd
in Capitol Hill.
Below is a summary of the briefing:
The Role of Reintroduction: Ensuring the Continued Existence of Species in the Wild
The drivers of human-wildlife conflict often place enormous pressures on entire populations of flagship species. These threats can be so severe that, once dangers have been addressed, existing populations need to be supplemented with animals raised in captivity.
Both the Smithsonian National Zoo and Save China’s Tigers are pursuing innovative means of species preservation through reintroduction.
Dr. Monfort of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute outlined the ways in which zoos can leverage their resources to reintroduce species on the brink of extinction into the wild.
The Smithsonian believes this method of species conservation will be increasingly important for the future, as the number of endangered species has increased steadily over the past ten years.
Save China's Tigers is leading one of the most famous current "rewilding" programs - first introducing South China tigers in South Africa, which offers ideal conditions for the tigers to relearn to hunt, and eventually releasing them back into South China.
In 2008, the organization had observed their greatest milestone in a pair of tiger cubs born in South Africa in the wild, after four years of training the tigers' parents to adapt to the environment. 14 tigers are now under Save China's Tiger, 11 of them born in South Africa.