South China Tiger

BY: Alexis Stilwell

Population

South China Tiger population was at 4000, in the early 1950's. Over the next few decades thousands were hunted down and killed. By 1996 the population was estimated to be just 30-40. Today scientist condsider these tigers "Functionaly Extinct" beeacuse there hasnt been one sighted in 25 years.

Habitat

The South China Tiger occupies Central and Eastern China. Interestingly, this area was once occupied by Bengal Tigers, Siberian Tigers, and Indochinese Tigers too. But, these ones are no longer found here. Ideally, South China Tigers prefer dense jungles, and enjoy spending time in the water. However, the loss of habitat is a major problem for them.

Physical Characteristicts

The South China Tiger is small in comparison to other Panthera tigris subspecies. Males reach about eight feet or 2.6 metres in length, while females are only about 7.5 feet or 2.3 metres in length. Males weigh approximately 150 kilograms and tigresses weigh in at about 110 kilograms or 240 pounds. The stripes of this subspecies are particularly broad, but they are also spaced further apart than in other tigers. This gives the coat a striking, impressive appearance.

Diet

South china tigers are carnivores. it stalks its prey silently before pouncing on it and breaking its neck. If necessary, it will chase it down first, but always try to execute the kill with as little struggle and pain as possible. Once captured, the prey will be dragged to a sheltered spot to eat it. If there is not tthe hunter will eat quickly before retreating back to a secluded spot. Incredibly, a South China Tiger can eat between 15 and 40 kilograms of meat in a sitting, depending on its own size, the availability of the meat, and the length of time that it can dedicate to its prey. If they are able to conceal the carcass, they may keep returning to it for the next few days to eat from the supply of food. This is important as the tiger may not make another kill for several days. In places where food is scarce, the tiger will eat almost any other animal. However, common prey includes monkeys, birds, small buck, and so on.

Endanger of extinction

Yet in the 1970’s, it was estimated there were over 4,000 South China tigers in the wild living mostly in central and eastern China. However they were considered ‘pests’ by the Chinese government and quickly hunted to their current status of being on the brink of extinction.The captive situation for the South China tiger is not much better than their situation in the wild. According to mid-1990’s documents, there are fewer than 50 South China tigers in captivity. These are all descendents from six wild tigers. An ‘ideal’ captive breeding situation would mean having over 120 tigers descending from 30 wild tigers.

Steps to save

The organisation's vision is to raise awareness of the plight of the Chinese tiger and to strive for its protection and preservation through public education, introduction and experimentation with advanced conservation models in China and abroad, and raising funds to support these initiatives. Another aim is to act as a liaison for all those organisations concerned with the conservation of China's wildlife, sutstanable, development, biodiversity, and habitat. The purpose of Save China's Tigers is to reverse the fate of the south china tiger from the brink of extenxtion by taking them out of zoos, breeding them, letting them regain their hunting abilities, and reintroducing them back to China's wild. The organisation's stated goal is to save the South China Tiger using this new method of rehabilitation and reintroduction.