Web users in China are calling a recent photograph of a South China Tiger in the wild, where they are thought to be extinct, a hoax.
A South China Tiger in the Beijing Zoo
The picture is being called a fake after the discovery of a commemorative poster for the 2002 Chinese New Year celebrations. According to local media reports in the country, the poster manufacturer has said the photographed tiger’s “stripes, bearing and motion are exactly the same as the New Year’s poster.”
Internet users believe that Zhou Zhenglong, the farmer from Zhenping county, a mountainous part of northern Shaanxi province, used digital photo altering technology to produce the image. They accuse Chinese local wildlife authorities, who authenticated the picture, as saying it was real to boost tourism.
Although Environmental Graffiti has been unable to obtain the two images, Reuters has reported that the two tigers do look very similar.
The government has launched a search for evidence of living tigers in the wild following the photograph. The tiger once had more than 4,000 individuals in the wild, but destruction of habitat and hunting had reduced its numbers allegedly to extinction. Shaanxi provincial governor Yuan Chunqing said: “Regarding the South China tiger, there will be a result soon. The investigation … is necessary, and the government is right to encourage it.”
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