South China Tiger
The historical range of the South China tiger was throughout the southern provinces of China, including the Hunan, Fujian, Jiangxi and Guangdong provinces. They inhabited fragmented ranges of land, typically montane evergreen forests, thick, damp tropical forests and rocky mountains.
Tigers are solitary, though males and females will come together to mate. After a gestation period of three to four months, a litter of up to five cubs is born. Like other tigers, South China tiger cubs are entirely helpless when born. They nurse for two months and are entirely dependent on their mothers for the first year and a half at which point they begin to hunt for themselves.
Tigers can live for 15 years in the wild, and about 20 years in captivity.
The South China tiger is a carnivore that typically hunts larger animals including deer, wild boar, cattle and goats. They are opportunistic predators and will stalk their prey until they are caught entirely off guard. Kills are dragged to remote areas to avoid being stolen by other predators, though if a sufficient hiding place is not found, the tiger will eat the kill quickly. 40 to 60 pounds of meat can be eaten in one sitting.
The South China tiger is currently listed as Critically Endangered; however, it may be Extinct in the Wild. There have been no recorded sightings of this big cat in more than 25 years.
Why are they Endangered?
Huge numbers of this tiger subspecies were killed in retaliation hunting as pests. Despite laws to protect the South China tiger, hunting has effectively decimated the population and it is highly unlikely that there are any left in the wild.