SEOUL – The chief of a South Korean civic group has asked Doshisha, a school operator in the city of Kyoto, to donate taxidermic Korean tigers kept at one of its schools to South Korea, the group announced Tuesday.
The stuffed specimens are at Doshisha Junior High School in the city.
Korean tigers had been regarded as an important symbol among ethnic Koreans. But the animal is believed to have become extinct following over-hunting during Japan’s 1910 to 1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.
In 1917, a mission led by Japanese businessman Tadasaburo Yamamoto carried out large-scale hunting of Korean tigers on the peninsula, according to the civic group.
There are two taxidermic Korean tigers — an adult and a cub — at Doshisha, according to the school operator. The specimen of the adult tiger was contributed by Yamamoto, while it is unknown where the cub came from because there are no records about it, Doshisha said.
The head of the civic group, identified as the Cultural Assets Redemption Agency, visited Doshisha on Monday and asked it to donate the items to South Korea for the sake of friendship between the two nations, according to the group.
An official of Doshisha told reporters that it will consider whether to meet the request later.
In South Korea, a movie about tiger hunting during the colonial period was released late last year.