Around the start of the 20th Century, it was estimated that there were approximately 40,000 South China Tigers living in China. As time went by and China changed, dealing with war, habitat destruction, etc, so did the existence of the majority of those tigers. According to Mongabay.com, that number dropped to around 4,000 tigers by the 1950s. Currently, there are about 80 tigers being held in captivity and they are all said to have been descendants from only six different wild tigers that were caught in the 50s and 60s. From my recent travels in China, I learned that tigers were also a large factor in Traditional Chinese Medicine practices. Because Traditional Chinese Medicine is still readily used by the Chinese people, tigers are constantly being killed for the supplies needed in the medicines. Although progress has been made to restore the South China Tiger to its former glory, it will take time and effort to convince the Chinese that the lives of these exceptional creatures are worth preserving.
In the 1970s there were an estimated 4,000 tigers living in China. Now estimates show only around 30 with an additional 64 living in Chinese zoos. Chinese tigers are greatly in danger of extinction due to the dangers they face in the wild and the difficulty of breeding them in captivity. The 64 tigers currently in Chinese zoos are all descended from 6 wild tigers captured in 1954 so inbreeding and the diseases that come with it can pose a problem. Also, in captivity, male sperm count and interest in females wanes.
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