Li Quan, a petite, former international fashion executive, was born in Beijing in the year of the Tiger, and seems an unlikely conservationist. With no formal conservation background, Li and her wealthy investment banker husband turned their backs on the corporate world and dug deep into their own pockets to try to save the South China Tiger from extinction.
These highly endangered tigers have not been seen in the wild for many years, and there are fewer than 60 left in Chinese zoos.
Arguing that time for the tigers was running out fast, in 2003 Li persuaded the Chinese authorities to lend her Hope and Cathay, two precious zoo-bred cubs. She flew them to South Africa to start a new life on the grasslands of the Karoo, where they could learn to hunt and breed in the wild again. Ultimately, their offspring would then be sent back to specially created wildlife reserves in China.
A year later, two more cubs called Tiger Woods and Madonna followed. Born in captivity, these cubs had never walked on grass before and were only used to ready meals. Madonna was definitely a virgin and Tiger Woods decidedly under par, but slowly they learnt to hunt for themselves.
This original Gang of Four has now increased to 14, all of whom have proved to be proficient predators in the wild.
Flying tigers half way round the world to start a new life in a new continent was a high risk and controversial plan. The project has faced opposition from conservationists who argue that the project is foolhardy and reintroduction should only be done in the animals' natural environment - in China not Africa.
Sue Armstrong investigates whether this pioneering project has any prospect of saving one of the world's most endangered species.
Producer: Ruth Evans
A Ruth Evans production for BBC Radio 4.
Sue Armstrong reports on a daring plan to save the South China tiger from extinction.