Conservation no less worthy cause in economic downturn

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 January, 2009, 12:00am

The article by Cynthia D'Anjou Brown, of HSBC, about philanthropy in tough times, has many astute observations ('Donating in difficult times', January 28).

However, I am sorry that like many of the larger foundations Ms Brown's article is devoid of any mention or consideration of conservation, the environment or animal welfare.

Of course, care of impoverished people and social issues should have and will always have the greatest priority, but our humanity should also extend to the health of the planet, the other beings we share the planet with, and the heritage we are leaving for our children and our children's children.

Ms Brown cites an example of 'creative giving', where a philanthropist increased the value of his donation by letting a smaller charity use the donation to create awareness and to stage fund-raising activities.

I am sure she is aware that most foundations specifically restrict use of donations for additional fundraising.

Moreover, many of our largest foundations specifically exclude conservation issues from their giving policies and now in others, with the economy, conservation and environment are further downplayed.

Many conservation charities are dealing with issues that can't be put aside until finances improve, groups like Animals Asia who are desperately trying to free moon bears from their tiny cages where they are milked with dirty catheters for their bile.

Our charity, Save China's Tigers, is working to save the last of China's critically endangered tigers of which fewer than 100 remain.

It will be very sad for humanity if we let the ancestor of all tigers, the South China tiger, become extinct.

Next year is the Year of the Tiger, so we hope that in the coming decades China's tiger will continue to walk the Earth and not be a permanent victim of a temporary financial downturn.

We are thankful to those Hongkongers whose generosity and giving also embrace our Mother Earth.

Gary Verstick, Save China's Tigers