Panthera tigris amoyensis (South China tiger)

The South China tiger, Panthera tigris amoyensis, is one of the world's most endangered animals.

It is the most critically endangered of all of the living tiger subspecies and is possibly already extinct in the wild.

Species detail

Other subspecies of tiger are thought to have evolved from the South China tiger.

In the early 1950s, there were an estimated 4,000 South China tigers in the wild. But years of persecution as a pest led to a dramatic decrease in numbers. By 1982 less than 250 remained, despite hunting of the animal being banned by the Chinese government in 1977.

It is thought there are now fewer than 30 left in the wild, and there have been no confirmed sightings for more than 25 years.

  • Two tigers mating

    Find out about the different subspecies of tiger and get information on the appearance of male and female South China tigers.

  • Panthera tigris amoyensis drinking water
    Distribution and habitat

    Panthera tigris amoyensis was once widely distributed throughout China but now appears to be restricted to just 3 isolated areas. Find out more about the distribution of the South China tiger and the type of habitat it prefers.

  • A South China tiger with its kill
    Biology and behaviour

    Get information about the reproduction and life expectancy of tigers, find out about the milestones in a cub's development, and learn about the tiger's diet.

  • Panthera tigris amoyensis

    Find out the current conservation status of the South China tiger as well as what is being done to help save this subspecies.

  • Panthera tigris amoyensis in the snow

    Get reference material for Panthera tigris amoyensis.


A pair of South China tigers

South China tigers are critically endangered. This pair are part of a programme to reintroduce the species into the wild in China. © Save China’s Tigers / Wikipedia

Two tigers mating

These two mating tigers are part of a breeding and rewilding programme for the South China subspecies of tiger, Panthera tigris amoyensis. © Save China’s Tigers / Wikipedia

Panthera tigris amoyensis drinking water

Tigers need access to water and, although other big cats generally do not like getting wet, tigers have been seen hunting in water and even bathing. South China tigers are now restricted to a few remote mountain areas in China and are possibly already extinct in the wild © / Wikipedia

© World66, 2005
A South China tiger with its kill

A South China tiger with its kill. Tigers are carnivorous. © Save China’s Tigers / Wikipedia

Panthera tigris amoyensis

Fewer than 30 South China tigers are thought to remain in the wild, making it the most endangered of all living tiger subspecies. A breeding and rewilding programme is underway to try to re-establish wild populations of the subspecies. © China's Tiger at

© China's Tiger at en.wikipedia
A South China tiger in the snow

A female South China tiger of Save China's Tigers in the snow. © Save China's Tigers / Wikipedia