Life in Ancient China
In the Han Dynasty, and for many centuries after that, China had large stretches of wild forest. China was rich in wildlife: deer, monkeys, pandas, wolves and - most feared of all - tigers.
The Siberian tiger (panthera tigris altaica) as Chinese tigers are called, is the world's largest type of tiger. Males can be up to 3.3 metres long from head to tail and can weigh 300 kilograms. Siberian tigers are often paler than other types of tiger.
Most of China's forests have now been cut down. The land is used for farms, houses and factories, and there's not much room left for wildlife.
The number of Siberian tigers has dropped dramatically since the days of ancient China. Today there are probably less than 35 tigers left in the wild in China, with possibly another 400 over the border in Russia. This is because of illegal hunting of tigers, the destruction of forests, and hunting by humans of animals which tigers eat for food.
To find out about tigers all over the world and what's being done to protect them, go to www.savethetigerfund.org.
China has many stories, sayings and works of art featuring tigers.
Chinese Tiger Sayings