Sunday, 9 October 2011
White tigers and Bengal tigers
All White tigers are actually just Bengal tigers which have inherited 2 copies of a recessive gene controlling skin pigmentation. Unlike albino tigers which are 100% white with no stripes, white tigers still carry their black stripes, making them almost identical to an orange bengal tiger except for their unusual color.
Look & Appearance
In terms of looks, white tigers have a distinctly pink nose, blue eyes and of course a white or creamy colored fur. These beautiful tigers are often much larger than their orange brothers and sisters, growing up to 3 meters in length and weighing up to 200-230 Kilograms in weight. These size differences exist both as babies and into maturity which usually occurs by 2-3 years of age.
Due to their larger size and the unique white color zoos, circuses and private owners have turned the breeding and rearing of white tigers into big business. In the wild white tigers are extremely rare due to the scarcity and low probability of a tiger inheriting both recessive genes (chances are 1 in 10,000) but in captivity breeders are taking white tigers and breeding them with each other. Father with daughter, brother with sister etc.
The fact that these establishments are involved in such inbreeding is not only disturbing but it causes many defects and problems in these new born cubs. As with most breeding genetic variation is essential and limiting the gene pool just to create a white tiger causes long term problems such as distorted spines, mental deficiancy, crossed eyes, as well as an overall low tolerance to illness and disease.
Why do they keep inbreeding ?
The answer of course is related to money. White tigers are a part of the ever expanding exotic animals trade which has grown to become a multi million dollar business and is second only to the illegal drug trade business.
Zoo’s, circuses and private owners openly admit that the white tiger serves as a great attraction for visitors increasing visitors and of course revenues. A white tiger can sell for as much as $100,000 so if you already own a couple why not breed them create some cubs and sell them off for some extra profit.
It’s unfortunate but this is exactly what happens and due to the extreme problems and abnormalities that occur when inbreeding occurs many of the new born cubs either die extremely young or come out so deformed that they are either killed or given away to freak shows where they live an extremely poor standard of living.
Remember it’s not as if white tigers must be bred with each other, they’re not a separate sub-species of tiger, rather they’re 100% identical to the orange bengal tiger except for their unusual color. This means they can happily coexist and mate with a normal orange bengal tiger to produce healthy offspring.
Establishments and individuals who claim their trying to save or keep the species alive are simply manipulating the truth to keep their unethical activities alive. Breeding of white tigers is nothing short of evil and benefits the tiger species in no way what so ever.