|Four Artificially-Bred South China Tigers Survive in China Zoo
| A zoo in central China's Henan Province said Wednesday that four South China Tiger cubs produced by artificial breeding had survived.
The four cubs - two males and two females - were born in Wangcheng Zoo in Luoyang City.
Three cubs were born on April 17. Their parents, Liang Liang and Niu Niu, are three years old. Another cub was born on May 1, and its parents, Guo Guo and Pan Pan, are 12.
"They have passed a critical period," said Li Maoping, manager of the park. "It is the first successful breeding in the areas north of the Yangtze River."
The survival rate of artificially-bred South China tiger cubs is about 40 percent as they have low resistance to disease because of inbreeding and a lack of breast milk, she said.
Li said the cubs had passed DNA tests and were genuine South China tigers, an endangered species. The tests were conducted in a biological laboratory for endangered wildlife in southwestern Sichuan Province.
According to the South China tiger protection department of the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens, the number of the species was 81 worldwide at the end of 2008, including 72 in China. They are all artificially bred.
Native to China, the South China tiger is widely believed to be extinct in the wild. It is thought to be the progenitor of all modern tigers, according to the World Wildlife Fund for Nature. It is considered critically endangered, mainly because of a loss of habitat. (Xinhua)