South Chinese - Page 1&2:
In The Wild | 3&4:
In Captivity | 5:
Subspecies Description |
6: Weight & Length Figures | 7: Conservation
It was just over 50 years ago that numbers of the South Chinese tiger were put at a relatively healthy 4,000, however a sudden decrease in species numbers came when the government of Chairman Mao Tse-Tung declared this tiger to be a pest.
Ironically, the 1959 decision occurred in the same year as the Amur tiger was declared a protected species. Following this law South Chinese tigers were hunted to the brink of extinction with over 3,000 tiger skins being handed in during the late 1950s and 1960s.
By 1976, the time of Mao's death, the tiger population had been reduced to around 400. Numbers continued to reduce alarmingly and in 1982 wild populations were estimated at a slim 150 - 250 animals. This caused the Chinese government to institute the "Save the Tiger Program".
Relationship with native peoples:
Rural people still view the tiger as an eater of domestic livestock and a man-eater. In the 1950s they were paid a bounty on each tiger killed. Few understood the sudden turning of the tables when the government enacted a 1977 law banning hunting of South Chinese tigers. As a result it has been difficult to encourage acceptance of the law and to enforce it. Extensive poaching has continued.
Other threats to the South Chinese tiger:
The South Chinese tiger also suffered the effects of poisoning, pollution from chemical fertilisers, loss of habitat, and reduction in the number of prey animals.
Deforestation of habitat areas has been extreme and 99% of China's original forests have been destroyed. The sub-tropical evergreen areas favoured by the South Chinese tiger are now very fragmented with most no larger than 500 square kilometres.