Jackie Chan-backed tiger charity faces uncertain future after bitter marriage split

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 February, 2013, 12:51pm
UPDATED : Monday, 11 February, 2013, 5:22pm

A tiger conservation charity backed by actor Jackie Chan was left in turmoil after its founder filed for divorce from an American banker who is the foundation’s financial backer.

No one is more proactive than Quan Li when it comes to saving the South China tiger. The former fashion executive for Gucci founded Save China’s Tigers in 2000. Hong Kong star Chan was invited to be its ambassador. In 2006, the charity launched the Jackie Chan Tiger Face Awareness campaign in Hong Kong.

But challenges lie ahead for Save China’s Tigers, which is registered in Hong Kong, Britain and the US, after Quan’s recent divorce with American banker Stuart Bray, also a financial backer of the charity.

Since the divorce, Quan has said she was ousted from the organisation by her ex-husband. Bray said her position became untenable because of an alleged conflict of interest, Britain's Daily Mail reported.

“It is a confidential matter and I can’t get into it – but she was in an untenable position,” said Bray, who refused to disclose Quan’s conflict interest. Bray insisted the charity would keep operating.

Quan’s charity has set up more than 300 sq km of conservation zone in South Africa, providing space for South China tigers that cannot survive in badly deforested China. Her relentless efforts to save the endangered species have been made into several documentaries in China.

For his part, Bray has set up an environmental investment fund to bring back the South China tiger, according to Reuters. He has reportedly poured nearly US$25 million into the effort.

The South China tiger is classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. About 100 exist in captivity around the world, and the animal appears to be extinct in the wild.