At the beginning of the 20th century, when the South China tiger was abundant, it was distributed in ranges throughout central, eastern and southern China and Hong Kong.
However, there has been no official sighting of this subspecies in the wild for over 25 years and the last confirmed sighting in Hong Kong was in 1947.
It appears that what few individuals may remain in the wild have a reduced range. A 1990 survey by Chinese scientists failed to find any tigers, although anecdotal evidence from former hunters suggested that there could be small and scattered populations in the remote mountains of the Guangdong, Hunan, and Fujian provinces of southern China.
Like other tiger subspecies, South China tigers live where there is: