“Amoy tiger at root of endangered tiger tree”

If the genetic tree for any living animal has a root,  the South China tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis) also known as Amoy, or Xiamen tiger is possibly the genetic mother for the tigers.  It is smaller and the most critically endangered of all living tiger subspecies. Possibly fewer than 20 of these tigers are left in the wild. The South China tiger is considered one of the world’s 10 most endangered animals.

Can we save them from extinction?

Male tigers measure about 2.6 m (8 ft) from head to tail and weigh about 150 kg (330 lb). Female tigers are smaller, measuring about 2.3 m (7 1/2 ft) long. They weigh approximately 110 kg (240 lbs). Both have short, broad stripes spaced farther apart than those of Bengal and Amur tigers.

These tiger prefer to eat animals from insects to humans (not recently) that weigh 30-400 lbs. They are known to stalk and follow their prey for hours. They can run in short bursts of speed averaging 35 mph, to catch its prey, but lack the stamina to maintain their top speed for long. These big cats kill their prey by suffocating it similar to cheetah kill technique. South China tigers can feed on almost anything, from small insects to Gaurs.

Gaurs

Man nearly exterminated the tigers in the beginning of the 20th century.
In 1959, Mao Zedong, during the “Great Leap Forward”, ordered the elimination of the tiger, leopards and wolves as “enemies of the people”, because they attacked farmers and villagers.The wild tiger population of the South China tiger fell from more than 4,000 to less than 200 by 1982. The Chinese government then reversed the classification of the tiger, banning hunting altogether in 1977, but this seems to have been too late.

Does not this seem like the same cycle of destruction then attempted preservation that is happening to many of our endangered animals today?

For twenty years now, no one has seen the South China tiger in the wild. Today there may only be 20 to 30 South Chinese subspecies living in the Chinese provinces of Guangdong, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangxi, and Zhejiang.

Rewilding is being tried in China by savechinastigers.org

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of    http://bit.ly/aEYuNG

Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/asLd3V

Image 1. courtesy of    http://bit.ly/cnRvMc

Image 2. courtesy of http://bit.ly/ciqpLz

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