Chinese researchers announced on Friday that the wild South China Tiger, an endangered tiger subspecies believed to have been extinct in the wild for more than 30 years, was spotted in a mountainous area in northwest China.
The tiger was snapped by a local farmer on October 3 near a cliff in Zhenping County, Shaanxi Province, and experts have confirmed that it was a young wild South China tiger, said the Shaanxi Forestry Department.
Zhou Zhenglong, 52, a farmer of Wencai village who was once a hunter, took pictures of the tiger with a digital camera and a film one on the afternoon of October 3, a department spokesman said.
Experts confirmed the 40 digital pictures and 31 film photographs were genuine. A clear photo showed the tiger lying in the grass looking ahead.
Lu Xirong, head of a South China tiger research team in Shaanxi, said the photos proved that wild south China tigers still exist in China.
"There has been no record of the survival of wild south China tigers in more than 30 years, and it was only an estimate that China still had 20 to 30 such wild tigers," Lu added
The south China tiger is the only tiger subspecies native to China's central and southern areas. In the early 1950s, its population was at 4,000 across the country. Since 1964, no signs of wild South China tigers have been recorded in Shaanxi.
(Xinhua News Agency October 12, 2007)