BEIJING, Oct 27 (Reuters) All hunting has been banned in an area in North China where an endangered tiger was apparently sighted and a team of experts will investigate whether the big cat really still exists there, the Xinhua news agency said today.
The young South China tiger, belonging to a sub-species experts had feared was extinct in the wild, was captured on camera earlier this month by Zhou Zhenglong, a farmer from the mountainous Zhenping in central China.
Local authorities confirmed the authenticity, but the pictures ''sparked heated public suspicion'', Xinhua said.
In the early 1950s an estimated 4,000 of the tiger sub-species, one of the world's smallest and the only one native to central and southern China, roamed the country, but its habitat has been squeezed by the country's rapid economic grouth.
The Shaanxi Provincial Forestry Department has set up a special protection area for the wild South China tiger and banned all hunting around the site where it was first sighted.
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