South China Tiger benefits in disputed divorce

The South China tiger, which is considered to be extinct in the wild and of which there are about 100 in captivity, has benefited from a recent high profile divorce case – Quan v Bray – in the High Court in London.

South china tiger breeding programme

The family assets in this divorce case are valued at about £27m. Of that sum, £25m was placed in a trust fund by the husband, Stuart Bray, an American banker. The objectives of the trust fund was to finance the couple’s charity work with Chinese tigers.

They set up a charity called Save China’s Tigers. There is no doubt that the South China tiger needs saving. They say there are hundred left in captivity and there is a breeding program. My first question about that is whether these tigers are genetically purebred Chinese. Often tigers in captivity are what is called “generic” meaning there are mixed breed or non-purebred; what might be described as “moggie tigers”; which could well be the case in this instance.

Anyway, Mr Bray’s wife, Li Quan, claimed that her husband had put the family fortune, acquired during their relationship, into the trust fund to cheat her out of her share of it. She was claiming her share in the High Court.

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She also claimed that her husband used it as a tax structure (meaning to pay less tax I suppose).

In this 25-day court hearing, which must have been very expensive, Mr Justice Coleridge, a long serving and well-respected judge, agreed with Mr Bray that the cash in the trust fund was earmarked for the tigers and that neither he nor his ex-wife were entitled to a penny of it.

And thus, the highly endangered or extinct-in-the-wild tiger, which once lived in China, has a chance of survival provided the £25,000,000 can succeed in creating a reserve in China of sufficient size and which is sufficiently protected where this rarest of wild cat species can survive and breed. I welcome the news and praise the couple for trying to save this subspecies of tiger. 

The best conservation requires the full commitment of the citizens of the place where the wild cat species is to share the land with them. In fact it is an essential pre-requisite. Do they have that?

Personally, I have severe doubts whether it is possible to repopulate China with the tiger because the bottom line is that the citizens of China simply do not want the tiger back in their country and if they do it will simply present them with another opportunity to exploit it by killing it and eating it as is the current position regarding the Bengal tiger. Pessimistic and cynical? Yes, but an assessment based on past history. I hope I am incorrect.

Source: Times newspaper.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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4 Responses

  1. Leah says:

    Well done that Judge!! I fear Michael that you are correct the Chinese will kill a Tiger not for food but just for one small gland which they use for Chinese medicine one of many obvious reasons why I wouldn’t go anywhere near a Chinese herbalist. Invariably they will eat the Tiger albeit that isn’t the reason it was killed.

    I will never understand how anyone can look upon a creature that is so majestic and so beautiful and made so unique by God and still think that its ok to kill it for one tiny gland?

    I wonder if a beautiful ancient temple existed in China that had an ancient elixir trickling through its walls that was beneficial as a medicine would be torn down to extract the liquid? No very likely not, yet these Tigers belong in China as much and any temple or artifact and should be left alone!

    I wish that someone would do some scientific studies into Chinese medicine to establish how effective it really is and I know they are strong in their beliefs which are thousands of years old but times have changed and we have evolved (well some nations have) and it just isn’t acceptable to kill an animal because it may or may not have just one organ that may or not be beneficial to human health!

    Same as bear bile farms I can’t imagine anything more cruel except of course the belief that dog meat is more tender if the animal has been tortured first then skinned alive and sometimes if it survives the skinning then boiled alive.

    It all makes my heart very heavy ……

    • Chinese medicine is the major killer of tigers in the world after habitat loss. The Bengal tiger in India is routinely poached and then the carcass shipped to China via the Philippines or Burma to China. There is no scientific basis for the beneficial effects of eating tigers. It is complete and utter madness and shows that the human in China is rooted in past superstition.

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