The South China tiger is the rarest of the five living tiger subspecies, the most threatened, and the closest to extinction. Considered the "evolutionary antecedent" of all tigers, no South China tiger has been seen in the wild by zoologist or creditable professional in over 20 years. This species of tiger, which is(was?) only to be found in the South of China, numbered an estimated 4,000 as recently as 40 years ago; but they were hunted first as pests, and later as ingredients to superstitious health serums, and their habitats were suffocated by exploding populations of humans. Their existence in the wild today can only be confirmed by the sparce findings of hair and feces, and the occasional suspicious boastings of slack-jawed yokels ("Done killed 'im, mah' bare hands, ah' did!")

There are roughly 40 South China tigers still living in 10 zoos across China, but efforts to spur reproduction in the animals that are even today considered symbols of virilty have become increasingly desperate.

The animals in captivity, it seems, experience a sort of sexual lethargy. Their sperm counts go down, and they just don't seem to be in the mood, in general. CNN recently carried an article reporting the use of viagra by Chinese zoo authorities in an attempt to motivate the ancient beasts. This is just one of a number of methods zoologists have employed recently to stimulate the libidos of endangered species; Chinese scientists working with pandas purportedly attempted to get their critters into the mood by playing panda porn for them.

Once hunted widely for medicinal purposes, just about every part of the tiger is used in some traditional recipe, the most potent (and expensive) of which is the tiger penis.

The current estimate holds that there are fewer than 20 South China tigers remaining in the wild.

The attempts at manufacturing the virility of the South China tiger appear to be doomed to failure. The destruction of its natural habitat has caused the South China to go from terrifying monster and scourge of human settlements to homeless celebrity cat. Seemingly conscious of the fact that there is no longer a place for it in the modern world, the depressed population of the South China tiger species seems to have agreed to call it quits.

http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/asiapcf/east/12/05/tiger.viagra/index.html
http://home.aol.com/tigertrail/china.htm
http://english.sohu.com/20010820/file/1634,248,100049.html
http://www.5tigers.org/China/Oryx_31.pdf

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