South China Tiger

The South China Tiger or South Chinese Tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis), also known as the Amoy or Xiamen tiger, is a subspecies of tiger native to the forests of Southern China. The South China tiger is the second smallest and most critically endangered tiger. Some experts maintain that there are approximately 20 to 30 of these tigers left in the wild. It is likely that they are extinct in the wild as there have been no confirmed sightings for 20 years. A total of 47 South China tigers exist in captivity in 18 zoos, all of which are in China. The South China tiger is considered to be the “stem” tiger, the subspecies from which all other tigers evolved.

Physical characteristics

The South China tiger is one of the smallest tiger subspecies. Male tigers measure about 8 ft (2.5 m) from head to tail and weigh approximately 330 lb (150 kg). Female tigers are smaller, measuring about 7-½ ft (2.3 m) long. They weigh approximately 240 pounds (110 kg). The short, broad stripes of the South China tiger are spaced far apart compared to those of Bengal and Amur tigers.


The South China tiger was formerly abundant in South China’s temperate upland forests. Today its wide range has been reduced to three isolated areas in south-central China. Small and scattered populations are said to persist along the mountainous borders between provinces. Two other major factors that have contributed to the tiger’s decline are poaching and population fragmentation. They may already no longer exist in the wilds of china. Researchers have recently found evidence of 3 tigers for sure living in Changde China.


Like other tiger subspecies, the South China tiger primarily hunts ungulates. The South China Tiger prefers prey ranging between 30 to 400 lbs., but will accept smaller or larger prey such as elk and deer and wild boar.