South China Tiger
(Photo courtesy of World66.com via Wikimedia)
Panthera tigris amoyensis
Sub-tropical evergreen forests.
Central and Eastern China.
There are fewer than 50 South China tigers across 18 zoos which are all in China, it is believed to be functionally extinct in the wild, and if non-captive populations still exist they are most likely to be found in the provincial borders in Southeast China.
The South China tiger is one of the smaller tiger subspecies measuring between 2.2 and 2.6 metres in length. They can weigh between 100-180kg, with the males weighing around 50% more than the females.
All wild populations of South China tigers are believed to be extinct as they were hunted as pests prior to a ban on hunting being put into place by the Chinese Government in 1979, when the population was estimated at 30-80 individuals down from around 4000 in the 1950s.
The South China tiger hasn’t been seen in the wild for over 25 years, a reported sighting by a farmer in 2007 was later discredited. If there are a few remaining individuals in the wild they are most likely to be in the moist forests of southeast China although it is not believed that the population would be viable due to a lack of genetic diversity through small numbers.
There are no protected areas of undisturbed healthy tiger habitat large enough to sustain viable tiger populations. Scientists believe this subspecies to be functionally extinct due to the small gene pool associated with captive tigers & any which may exist in the wild.