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South China Tiger Info


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Tiger Distribution

KEY FACTS

Genus & Species: Panthera tigris amoyensis

Range: Central and Eastern China

Average Weight:

Female: 221 - 254 Pounds

Male: 287 - 386 Pounds

Average Length:

Female: 7 Feet 3 Inches - 7 Feet 11 Inches

Male: 7 Feet 7 Inches - 8 Feet 7 Inches

Gestation period: Approximately 103 days

Cubs per litter: 1-5

Cub Maturity:After 8 Weeks: join mother when hunting Approximately 6 Months:
learned how to kill 11/4 - 11/2 Years:
can hunt for themselves

Status: Endagered 20 - 30 in Wild

  • Considered to be the evolutionary ancestor of all tigers.

  • The only zoo's that have this tiger are in China.

  • Also known as the Amoy Tiger.

  • Also known as the Chinese Tiger.

  • Most endangered of the tiger subspecies.

    At the other end of the spectrum from the Bengal tiger in terms of long-term viability lies the South China tiger (technical name Panthera tigris amoyensis). This subspecies finds itself on the very brink of extinction. There have only been a few reports of sightings in the wild over the last ten years. Only very little secondary evidence-pug marks, feces, remnants from a kill, etc.- have been reliably reported during this period.

    Range & Habitat

    China is unique among tiger range countries because four of the surviving tiger subspecies at one time lived within its borders. The Siberian tiger in the far northeast bordering Russia and North Korea; the South China tiger (which is considered the evolutionary antecedent of all tigers) in the central parts of China; and the Indochinese and Bengal tigers in the far south bordering Vietnam, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Assam (India). The tiger is a favorite subject of Chinese artists, depicted as fierce and powerful.

    Diet

    South China tigers hunt primarily between dusk and dawn, and they attack using the same method as do the lions. They stalk, chase, and attack, bringing down and killing the prey with usually a bite to the nape of the neck or the throat. The bite to the throat allows the tiger the ability to suffocate the prey bringing death relatively quickly and painlessly. Smaller animals are often killed with the bite to the nape of the neck allowing the tiger to to fracture the vertebrae and compress the spinal chord of its victim. Once killed, the tiger either drags or carries its meal into cover. The tigerís enormous strength allows it to drag an animal that would require 13 adult men to move. Tigers consume anywhere from 35 - 90 pounds of meat at one sitting, beginning at the rump of the prey. If undisturbed, they will return to the carcass for 3-6 days, feeding until it has completely consumed its kill. Because tigers are not the most successful of hunters, only killing 1 in every 10-20 attempts, it may be several days before it has its next meal. In the wild, cooperative hunting among tigers has also been observed where couples and families hunted like a pride of lions. This, however, is the exception not the rule. Unlike the other felids, man is a regular part of the tigerís diet and has earned them greatest reputation as man-eaters. The most common prey items are various species of deer and pig, but they will also take crocodiles, young elephants and rhinos, monkeys, birds, fish, leopards, bears, and even their own kind. They have also been reported to eat carrion.

    Reproduction & Cubs

    Tigers can breed at any time of the year, but they typically mate in winter or spring. Tigers appear to reach maturity at about 4 years of age, although earlier maturity has been recorded. Gestation is normally 103 days. The usual number of cubs is two or three, though there may be as many as six.

    The cubs are blind and helpless at birth weighing about 3 pounds each. Their eyes usually open by the tenth day, although some zoo-born cubs have their eyes open as soon as they are born. During the first 8 weeks the cubs consume only their mother's milk. They are suckled for 5 or 6 months.

    The cubs leave the den for the first time when they are 2 months old. They are wholly dependent until they are about 6 months old when they learn how to kill. They can hunt for themselves by the time they are about 18 months old and are fully independent at two years of age. Longevity in the wild is 15 years and 20 years in captivity.

    Conservation Status

    The last south China tiger was seen in Shaanxi Province in 1964. The South China Tiger is the most Critically Endangered (IUCN) of all of the living tiger subspecies. Considered by many experts as the "Stem" tiger. The subspecies in which all other tigers may have evolved from! Wild populations are less then 30 animals. In addition to wild populations.

    In the 1950s, it was reported that there were 4,000 South China tigers in the wild. The Chinese government declared them pest and they were hunted to the brink of extinction.

    Experts believe south China tigers are extinct in the wild. Only 68 have been bred in captivity at 19 different Chinese zoos and these are all descendants of two male and four female tigers caught in the 1950s and 1970s. Unless more are found in the wild, these zoo-bred tigers will eventually die out because of inbreeding.

    7-15-07~Scientists believe China's native tiger still exists in wild~

    The south China tiger, a species native to south China but thought to be extinct in the wild, almost certainly still exist in the remote subtropical forests in the wild west, a group of scientists say. "We saw footprints, heard their bellows and talked to villagers who had seen the big cats," said Prof. Liu Shifeng of Northwest China University.

    Liu headed a group of 30 zoologists to trace the tiger in the outback of Shaanxi Province last summer and winter. They searched through at least 130,000 hectares of forests in two trips that together lasted two and a half months. But not a single tiger was spotted.The last south China tiger was seen in Shaanxi Province in 1964."But this time we did find big footprints 15 cm long and 15 cm wide at an interval of one meter. They could not have been left by leopards or any other known animal in the region," he said.Liu and his colleagues also found remains of torn-apart wild boars in the forests. "All the signs suggest south China tigers still roam the forests."The group also visited 19 villages in eight towns in the rural counties of Zhenping and Pingli to find lucky people who had actually seen a tiger.The experience was more fearful than lucky for Song Keming and Wang Genhua, two peasants from Zengjiazhen town of Zhenping County who saw a tiger on June 15, 2006."We were on a hill close to our village and saw two women collecting herbs not far off," said Song.But something behind the two women sent a chill down their spines. "It was a tiger at least two meters long," he said.Lucky for all the four villagers, the tiger didn't attack and quickly disappeared in the forests.A latest report by the Shaanxi Provincial Forestry Administration says south China tigers have been spotted 17 times in Zhenping County.Chinese history books say tigers existed in Shaanxi Province more than 1,000 years ago. "I'm happy, but not surprised that the big cats still roam the wild today," said Prof. Liu.The provincial forestry administration said it plans to build Zhenping County into a new habitat for the tigers."South China tigers are as critically-endangered as giant pandas," said Wang Wanyun, an official in charge of wildlife preservation. "We'll do everything we can to protect." Experts with Guangzhou Zoo and South China Agricultural University have started to preserve somatic cells of the tiger, so that the animal may be cloned to prevent from extinction.

    The south China tiger, from which other sub-species such as the Siberian Tiger evolved, has been listed as one of the world's 10 most endangered animals.Its former habitats were in Guangdong Province, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region as well as the central provinces of Hunan and Jiangxi.


    Tiger Subspecies

  • Amur Tiger | Siberian Tiger (Panthera tigris altaica)

  • Indochinese Tiger (Panthera t. corbetti)

  • Bengal Tiger (Panthera t. tigris)

  • Sumatran Tiger (Panthera t. sumatrae)

  • Malayan Tiger (Panthera t. jacksoni)

  • South China Tiger (Panthera t. amoyensis)

  • Bali Tiger (EXTINCT) (Panthera t. balica)

  • Javan Tiger (EXTINCT) (Panthera t. sondaica)

  • Caspian Tiger (EXTINCT) (Panthera t. virgata)






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