Born in Beijing, Li Quan first graduated from Beijing University and then received MBA and MA degrees from Wharton Business School and the Lauder Institute in the USA. Initially interested in the world of fashion, she worked as an executive for such famous Italian companies as Fila, Benetton and Gucci before moving to London.
Always passionate about wildlife, she found it sad and tragic how the very existence of so many species was threatened in the modern world; and none more so than the South China Tiger, which, as Lord of the Hundred Beasts, has long held a special position in Chinese mythology and folklore. Yet, visiting Africa, she was impressed by the conservation models and wildlife management expertise she found there. Could these be pressed into the service of the South China Tiger?
The answer was a resounding yes. In 2000, together with her financier husband Stuart Bray, Li Quan founded Save China’s Tigers and immediately began preparing a home fit for rewilding the South China tiger on land they had purchased in South Africa. Since then Quan has been relentless in pursuit of her cherished dream, as indeed she has had to be. The conservation establishment, shocked by her unconventional strategy, was often fiercely critical. Undeterred, Li Quan initiated the historic Chinese Tiger Reintroduction agreement with the Chinese government, persuading both the Chinese and South African authorities that her plans could and would work. She enlisted the support of many hands-on conservation experts who were prepared to think ‘outside the box’ and help her experiment with the ‘rewilding’ alternative to save the South China tiger. Winning the support and encouragement of the likes of martial arts legend Jackie Chan as well as wild cat biologists, Li Quan believes human beings have an inalienable duty to repair all the damage they have done to the natural world and its myriad eco-systems. And now it seems her own mission impossible is bearing fruit.