Today the Shaanxi government came out eight months after the so-called "South China Tiger" photos were "taken" to say they were fabricated.
In October, a farmer named Zhou Zhenglong from Zhenping County in Shaanxi created the photographs and submitted them to the Provincial Forestry Department.
Because the South China Tiger is so rare and considered extinct, the government department was hoping a reward of 20,000 yuan ($2,915) would entice someone to find proof of the tigers' existence.
Which is what Zhou did, sort of.
When the news of the photographs surfaced, it was strange the provincial government immediately released the photos and held a press conference exalting the discovery.
But then Chinese people on the Internet examined the photos and one realized the tiger was the same as the one on his calendar.
Soon they concluded it was a manipulated photograph and demanded the farmer not be allowed to claim the financial prize.
The "paper tiger" scandal broke and in February red-faced government officials were forced to do further investigation into the photographs. They apologized but stop short of declaring the photos as fake.
But it is only now that the photos are officially fake and 13 officials were punished, including four who were sacked, while farmer Zhou was arrested for suspicion of fraud.
One of the officials who lost his job, Li Qian with the wildlife preservation station, didn't properly make a site verification of the photo before producing a verification report.
"It was a small area with few tall trees, which was not a suitable habitat for a real tiger," he said.
Police also located the trees beside the South China tiger in Zhou's picture and measured them at 0.8 of a centimeter in diameter. Calculations showed the pictured tiger would have been just 27 centimeters long and 35 centimeters wide.
While it's a sigh of relief that the case of the paper tiger is finally closed, it's quite silly some officials didn't do much critical thinking when 20,000 yuan and their own jobs were at stake.
But we all knew that already.