Country park tiger tale lacking bite

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 March, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 March, 2004, 12:00am

Hikers who say they saw a tiger in Shing Mun Country Park last week could have actually seen a leopard cat, a barking deer or a wild pig, a government conservation officer said yesterday

While camping near Lead Mine Pass on Saturday night, the two hikers said they heard a sound like the roar of a tiger and saw a large shadow. But country park officers found no trace of a tiger, such as footprints, during a two-day search. Wong Che-lok, a wetland and fauna conservation officer with the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, said it was more likely that the animal was a a leopard cat, barking deer, wild pig or a stray cow.

'These animals have been captured by our infrared cameras inside the park. But we have found no tigers,' he said.

The 15 cameras inside the park have taken more than 1,500 pictures of animals during the past three years for an ongoing project to monitor biodiversity.

The last confirmed sighting of a tiger in Hong Kong was in Sha Tin in 1947.

A tiger was shot dead in Stanley in 1942.

Leopard cats tend only to be 60cm long on average, while tigers can grow up to three metres long.