A rare South China tiger, one of only a handful left alive in the world, died either this month after a fight with another tiger at a reserve in South Africa. The cat, known as number 327, broke through an electric enclosure, attacked another South China tiger, and died after a five-minute struggle. The animals are part of a conservation program to re-introduce South China tigers, which have not been observed outside captivity in more than 20 years, to their native habitats to the wild. Conservationists hope to retrain the captive tigers to stalk and kill their own prey at South Africa's remote the Laohu Valley Reserve. The reserve is operated by Save China's Tigers, which eventually hopes to reintroduce cubs raised in the park back into China. Number 327 had sired three cubs. Re-wilding captive tigers, an idea made famous by Indian conservationist Billy Arjan Singh in the 1970s, is a difficult and controversial process. Efforts to protect tigers have grown increasingly desperate in recent years as the world's wild tiger population has dwindled to around 3,000.
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