Monday, May 17, 2004

Two reserves created for tigers in China

The Chinese government and NGOs have created two nature reserves with complete ecosystems and food chain for the South Chinese Tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis) in Jiangxi and Hunan provinces.

But sadly, I think the wild (30) and captive (60) populations are too small to sustain a viable gene pool for the subspecies. Even the reserves might be too little too late. At this point, only 2 tiger cubs were sent to South Africa for survival training. It might take up to the fourth generation for the tigers to be effectively introduced in the wild.

Poaching is still rampant in China even when convicted poachers get to face the firing squad. SARS has not awakened people to the dangers of eating wild game. Just go and see any wildlife market especially in South China. With China's economy booming and people getting more affluent, even the wildlife population of neighbouring countries are feeling the pressure. Russian conservationists are increasingly worried about the remaining Siberian Tigers (less than 300 surviving!) being poached to satisfy the Chinese market.

Ed's note: Read about the subspecies at, and see:

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