South China Tiger
BY: Alexis Stilwell
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.
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.
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.