Doomed deer freed to feed China’s elusive tigers

Global Post
18 September, 2013

High in the mountains of northeastern China, conservationists looking to preserve the endangered Amur tiger — the world’s largest living feline — are releasing deer into the area for the big cats to feed on.

Hundreds of the big cats, also known as Siberian tigers and scientifically as Panthera tigris altaica, once roamed the lush pine and oak forests of Manchuria, but only around 20 still survive in the wild.

Historically, China’s shamanistic Manchu people both revered and hunted tigers, with the Qing dynasty Kangxi emperor claiming to have killed 135 with bow and musket, according to Peter Dekker, an independent researcher of Qing dynasty weapons.

China was once home to several tiger subspecies, but now their legacy endures more in folklore — “Where there are mountains, there are tigers,” goes one old saying — than in the flesh.

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