The South China tiger is the Museum’s Species of the day for 14 February 2010, the start of the Chinese Year of the Tiger. This species is critically endangered and none have been seen in the wild for more than 25 years.
People will be celebrating this special day in the Chinese calendar, but will this be a good or bad year for the world’s largest cats?
There are 5 surviving subspecies of tigers in the world including the South China tiger. However, this subspecies is feared extinct in the wild as no official or scientist has seen it since the 1970s.
The South China tiger, Panthera tigris amoyensis, is one of the smallest subspecies. Once widespread throughout China, it is now thought to exist in only 3 isolated areas and it is classed as critically endangered on the 2009 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species list.
illegally killed today for their skins and for tiger parts
Other human pressures are degradation and fragmentation of the tigers’ habitat and disappearance of their prey