South Chinese Tiger -- Panthera tigris amoyensis

South Chinese - Page 1&2: In The Wild | 3&4: In Captivity | 5: Subspecies Description |
6: Weight & Length Figures | 7: Conservation

Conservation efforts in China:

In recent times China has made positive moves towards saving the remaining few South Chinese tigers.

    • 1981 - Joined CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species)
    • 1988 - Passed the ROC Wildlife Animal Protection Law of the People's Republic of China.

    The IUCN's Tiger GASP team was invited to evaluate tiger husbandry and medical management procedures, verify origin and parentage of each tiger, and perform a population management analysis.

    The South China tiger studbook:

    Despite this being one of the world's most endangered animals, it was not until 1996 that a South China tiger salvation programme was properly established and in operation.

    Particularly significant outcomes of the IUCN visit included the development of the South China Tiger Studbook and the South China Tiger Masterplan. These serve as an important means to control and monitor the future of this subspecies.

    Ongoing studies and analyses  are now used to develop strategies for population management and breeding.  These are carefully designed to reduce inbreeding amongst captive tigers and improve the genetic development of the subspecies.

    All captive South Chinese tigers fall under the supervision of the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens (CAZG). A five-year programme has been drawn up which is designed to improve management and increase reproduction. The South Chinese tiger Studbook is not quite complete, however this work should be done very soon.

    South Chinese tiger genetic issues:

    In the case of the South Chinese tiger, inbreeding and genetic problems are of great concern, and reducing these is particularly difficult, given that the tigers all descend from such a small gene pool (six founder animals). As such, this issue is easily the greatest threat facing the South Chinese tiger.

    It is unlikely further wild specimens will be caught to supplement the present captive population, since this subspecies has not been sighted for such along time.

Captive facilities:

Some zoos are making great efforts to improve the standards of their facilities.

Shanghai Zoo's concrete-based cages, surrounded by ugly iron fences, are slowly being replaced with more natural modern moat and wall enclosures. Where cages remain they have been improved with the addition of enrichment programmes and logs to improve claw health. Above is an example of Shanghai's previous tiger compound (spot the South Chinese tigers). Below is the new, vastly improved, outdoor enclosure.

As late as July 2000, Shanghai Zoo was one of a number of Asian facilities which still ran a circus within the zoo. The status of the circus now is unknown, but it has previously been described in very uncomplimentary terms...

Wild tigers:

Some action is also being taken to try and protect the few remaining wild tigers.

Nature reserves are to be expanded and laws prohibiting hunting or trading in tiger products strengthened.

Two reserves have been established in Jiangxi and Hunan. If hunting can be controlled these would be ideal areas for repopulation of this subspecies. They held abundant prey animals which have bred extensively due to the lack of predators in the area. 

But whereas management of captive tigers is well underway, much still needs to be done for any remaining wild South Chinese tigers:

    • An accurate census has yet to be carried out.
    • No knowledge exists of the prey base.
    • Little information has been recorded regarding the habitat situation.
    • No wild management plan exists.

    These things are considered to be of the utmost urgency as the South Chinese tiger moves ever closer to extinction.

South Chinese - Page 1&2: In The Wild | 3&4: In Captivity | 5: Subspecies Description |
6: Weight & Length Figures | 7: Conservation

Amur | Bali | Bengal | Caspian | Corbetts | Javan | Sumatran | South Chinese | Amur Leopard

Subspecies Index | Home

Photography With Thanks To The Asian Animal Protection Network (Photo 1-2)
Shanghai Zoo (Photo 3)
© All Rights Reserved. Displayed here with permission, for educational, non-profit purposes.