Feisty Year-of-Tiger babies feared
A Taiwanese official has urged citizens to procreate amid fears the Year of the Tiger may bring reduced reproduction on the island, which already has one of the world's lowest birth rates.
Births have previously dropped during the Year of the Tiger as some Chinese people believe Tiger babies could be vicious and bring harm to relatives.
Education ministry official Yang Chang-yu challenged the belief that it is inauspicious to have babies in Tiger years, and noted many successful people are Tigers.
"Not delivering Tiger babies is but a myth and children of any zodiac animals could achieve success," the minister was quoted as saying by the China Times newspaper.
People born in the Year of the Tiger include President Ma Ying-jeou, born in 1950, and Vice President Vincent Siew, born in 1938.
Government statistics show births totalled 271,450 in the last Year of the Tiger in 1998. In contrast, the Year of the Dragon two years later - a year deemed most auspicious among all zodiac animals - saw 305,312 babies born.