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The South China tiger is the ancestral root of all tigers, a national, cultural icon of China, and yet it is the most critically endangered of tigers with about 100 left in captivity.

Our mission is to restore, reintroduce and protect a genetically viable population of South China tigers and its biodiverse ecosystem.


The South China Tiger, also known as the ‘Chinese’, or ‘Amoy’ tiger is considered critically endangered by the IUCN. There are few, if any in the wild, with the last confirmed sighting over two decades ago. There are currently about 100 in captivity in Chinese zoos, reserves and in the care of

Save China’s Tigers.

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Vivienne had dedicated the last decade of her life to the care and protection of endangered South China tigers. Vivienne was Tiger Supervisor at the reserve that had been established in 2002 as a breeding and rewilding center for the critically endangered South China tiger. At this time, the exact circumstances of the incident, which occurred during routine management activities are not clear, but local authorities and the project team, are conducting a thorough investigation.

Vivienne was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in the Kwa-Zulu Natal midlands. She then moved to Philippolis with her family before joining Telkom SA, followed by administrative position in a firm in Bloemfontein. Returning to Philippolis, she joined Laohu Valley Reserve. She once described her position at Laohu working with tigers as "a dream come true".

"Our condolences go out to her family and friends for this tragic loss", said Reserve General Manager, Heinrich Funck. "I and her fellow workers are in shock and mourning for the woman who approached her work with a passion, diligence, humour and joy. Everyone at the reserve and the Save China's Tigers charity are devastated by this, it is hard to imagine our operations without her and we will never, ever forget her vitality and personality and the important role she has played in the conservation of these endangered tigers."

It was necessary to put the tiger down during the incident. The male tiger known as 'Beta' was born in July 2011. The reserve is not open to the public as the tigers are being rewilded for eventual return to protected reserves in China.  

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The staff and management of Laohu Valley Reserve, Save China's Tigers and the China Tiger Project are devastated by the loss of our Tiger Supervisor, Vivienne McKenzie who was killed by a tiger early this morning at the Laohu Valley Reserve near Philippolis in the Free State, South Africa.

October 8, 2016, Philippolis, South Africa