AnimalsAsiaMammalsTigersWild cats

South China tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis)

South China tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis)

Everyone knows Bengal, Siberian or Sumatran tigers, and if they don’t, they at least have heard about them 🙂 However, only few people know that there is a bit more of tiger subspecies. Today we are presenting critically endangered tigers – South China tigers – that systematically lose their battle for life with people…

Tigers have been losing their fight for survival for years, finding themselves on the verge of extinction. Although each subspecies has a different situation regarding its population, none of them can feel safe.

How long are we going to be able to admire these big and dignified cats – we don’t know. But we know that people bear the greatest responsibility for their endangerment.


  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Felidae
  • Genus: Panthera
  • Species: Tiger (Panthera tigris)
  • Subspecies: South China tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis)
South China tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis)
South China tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis).

Occurrence and habitats

The former range of distribution of this subspecies was 2,000 km (1,200 mi) from east to west and 1,500 km (930 mi) from north to south of China.

From the east the tiger inhabited Jiangxi and Zheijang Provinces, and in the west – Guizhou and Sichuan.

From the north, the tiger lived in the Qin Mountains and near the Yellow River (Huang He), and in the south it inhabited Guangdong, Kuangsi and Junnan Provinces.

South China tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis).
South China tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis).



It’s the smallest subspecies of the tiger form the continental part of Asia. Male tigers are 230 – 265 cm (91 – 104 in) long and weigh 130 – 175 kg (287 – 386 lb). Females are smaller – their body length is between 220 – 240 cm (87 – 94 in) and they weigh 110 – 115 kg (243 – 254 lb). The biggest male skull that had been found was 31.8 to 34.3 cm (12.5 – 13.5 in), and female one – 27,3 – 301 cm (10.7 to 11.9 in).


As its relative described above, the South China tiger prefers large ungulates, thus, it often hunts boars, and sometimes the Indian hog deer, muntjacs and colobine monkeys. It also has to settle for porcupines, hares and peacocks, that constitute the minority of the tigers’ diet anyway. Because of the human interference in the tigers’ habitats, pets and livestock are also the prey of the big cats. In the past, in the former range of distribution, the menu of these big cats included also the tufted deer, serows and sambar deer.

Usually, the tiger attacks from the side or back from a short distance, to grasp its prey’s neck and kill it quickly. After that, it drags the carrion even several hundred meters further, to eat in peace. Because of the low access to food and the method of hunting, the South China tiger feeds in accordance to the rule “feast or hunger”, so it can eat 18-40 kg of meat in one go.

Sad statistics – endangered tigers

The South China tiger is nowadays classified as critically endangered, but it is possible that the species has gone extinct in the wild. There is a small chance that some individuals inhabit the southern forests of China – in 1990s their survival was considered unlikely because of the low population of wild game, vast degradation of habitats, fragmented population and human interference.

South China tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis).
South China tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis).

Detailed information / size

South China tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis)

  • Body length: males: 230 – 265 cm (91 – 104 in), females: 220 – 240 cm (87 – 94 in)
  • Weight: males: 130 – 175 kg (287 – 386 lb), females: 110 – 115 kg (243 – 254 lb)
  • Lifespan: 10-15 years in the wild, 15-20 years in captivity

South China – interesting facts

  • The South China tiger is considered the most characteristic representative of the whole species in terms of its morphology.
  • Tigers are the victims of poachers who work for people dealing with traditional folk medicine – it is one of the main factors causing the extermination of these beautiful predators.
South China tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis).
South China tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis).


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