China Tiger - Panthera tigris
The South China Tiger is the most CRITICALLY
ENDANGERED of all of the living tiger subspecies. Considered
experts as the "Stem" tiger subspecies from which
all other tigers may have evolved. The South China Tiger
(amoy) distribution ranges throughout the humid forests and
grasslands of central and eastern China. Like the Sumatran
Tiger, the South China Tiger is also one of the smaller tiger
subspecies. Males average 300 - 350 pounds in weight, and
females 200 - 250 pounds respectively. In fact, this cat
is so rare in the wild that this subspecies has rarely observed
by man during recent times. As a result very little is known
about its behavioral habits and prey items.
Amoyensis once ranged territory throughout central China.
Reports in 1949 estimated that there were more than 4000
South China Tigers. The Chinese government, unfortunately
from 1950 - 1960, implemented governmental "Anti-Pest
Campaigns" which were responsible for the deaths
of more than one thousand animals. By 1982 less then
200 animals were estimated to remain in existence. Today
their population numbers are critically endangered and
in need of protection, with less than 30 wild South China
Tigers in the wild.
Maximum estimated wild population size varies from 30
to 80 of the subspecies today. South China Tigers are
maintained in captive breeding programs with about 50
animals in zoos, all located in China. Unfortunately
all of these animals were descendents of only six "Founder
Animals". As a result, very limited genetic diversity
exists for captive breeding program.
The only hope for saving this regal cat can only be accomplished
through an extremely well planned out continuing captive
breeding programs. This would require the capture of
some wild animals to insure better genetic diversity.
The South China Tiger is so very close to the classification
of EXTINCT! If the South China tiger is lost to extinction,
it would mean that 4 out of the 8 tiger subspecies
have been wiped out forever within the last half-century.
Scientific Name: Panthera tigris amoyensis
Range & Habitat: Extremely limited range found in
the humid forests and grasslands of central and eastern
Female: 100kg - 115 kg (221 - 254 lbs)
Male: 130kg - 175kg (287 - 386 lbs)
Female: 2.2m - 2.4m (7'-3" - 7'-11")
Male: 2.3m - 2.6m (7'-'7" - 8'- 7")
Diet: All tigers are carnivorous. SouthChina prey consists mostly of deer,
antelope, wild boar, wild pigs and other hooved mammals (ungulates) native
to this region.
Gestation Period: 100-119 Days (Averaging 103 Days)
Cub Maturity: 18 months - 2 Years
Cubs Per Litter: (Usually 2-3 cubs) Cubs are born blind and weigh 2-3 pounds.
18-26 month intervals.
Lifespan: 16-18 Years
Predators: Man. Poaching
Social Structure: Solitary, except during mating season. Male territory may
Territory Size: 933km (260 miles)
Population (Wild): 30 in the wild. The South China Tiger is the most critically
endangered of remaining five subspecies alive today and they face the very
real threat of extinction.
Captive (SSP): 50 in Zoos primarily in China.
Conservation Status: CITES Appendix 1. (All wildcats are listed on CITES Appendix
I or II).
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