Controvesy over South China tiger's photograph

Published: Tuesday 15 January 2008

-- Photographs supposedly showing a South China tiger in the wild have sparked a controversy. Chinese wildlife experts, officials, Internet users and media organizations have been drawn into a row over whether the tiger still exists in Shaanxi province.

The drama began in October when a farmer supposedly snapped the tiger in the mountains of Zhenping County.Only one shot was released, but it was hailed as proof that the South China tiger is not extinct in the wild. The claim gained credence when the journal Science published the shot and media organizations reported the story. But critics suggested the photograph had been digitally altered. One Internet user posted a picture showing similarities between the Shaanxi tiger and one on a calendar. The debate seemed resolved when the China Photographers Society declared the picture fake. But some officials still believe the photos are real. An investigation has been launched to settle the matter.

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