Oldest South China Tiger on record dead
(CRIENGLISH.com December 9, 2007)
“Huahua”, the oldest South China tiger in the country’s recorded
history, died three months ago in a zoo in Luoyang in central Henan
Province, according to a report in the local newspaper Orient Today
Dubbed a “hero mother,” the tiger had 24 offspring, accounting for 30
percent of the total number of South China tigers currently kept in
the country’s zoos.
The tiger, nicknamed “Huahua,” was 23 years old, or the equivalent of
90 years old in human age, when she died on August 14, according to
“Huahua has been widely recognized for her contribution to the
species,” Li Maoping, director of the zoo, said, “Among the total 72
zoo-kept South China tigers in the country, seven are Huahua’s
grandchildren, 17 are Huahua’s great-grandchildren, and one of her
great-grandchildren is expected to give birth in 2008.”
The South China tiger, also known as the Chinese tiger, has been at
the top of the world’s endangered species list for many years, Li
As the most critically endangered of all tiger subspecies, the wild
population of the South China tiger is believed by many scientists to
be “functionally extinct.”
According to international practice, Huahua’s internal organs have
been buried and her carcass is being been kept in a refrigerator. The
zoo will save her remains as long as possible if there is no further
notice from the relevant department, Li said.
Huahua was born in June 1985 in Guangzhou, capital city of southern
China’s Guangdong province, and was sent to Luoyang when she was
three months old. In 1994, she was selected for the South China tiger
reproduction project and transported to Suzhou to mate. During her
stay in Suzhou, Huahua gave birth to 11 cubs, seven of which survived.
The tiger returned to Luoyang in 2001. Her health began to decline in
The zoo tried to keep her fit by providing nutritious and digestible
food and expanding her tiger house from its original 30 square meters
to more than 80 square meters.
Huahua died on August 14 after not eating for three days.
“She was very calm in the last days,” a zookeeper recalled, “It has
been three months since she dies. We all miss her.”
For The Tiger
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