Endangered White Tiger

by Michael
(London, UK)

White Tiger Las Vegas - photo by gordon2208

White Tiger Las Vegas - photo by gordon2208

The endangered white tiger is either extinct or practically extinct in the wild and in practice endangered in captivity. This is not a rare sub species of tiger but is a normal black striped orange tiger with the color taken out because of the presence of a recessive gene that when in homozygous form (a pair of these genes) dilutes the back ground color to an off-white and the stripes to charcoal. It is thought that the first mutation (and white tiger) occurred in and around 1900 (src: Wild Cats of the World). This though is speculation surely? As the white tiger is a mutation its extinction or otherwise in the wild is directly linked to the extinction of the orange tiger, which is as we know gradually becoming extinct (there are about 1400 Bengal tigers left in the wild it is thought at June 2009 and it seems less than 4,000 tigers in all although we don't have accurate figures)

One interesting thought. It could conceivably be argued that the prospect of another white Bengal tiger being born in the wild is increasing. This is because as the orange tiger population decreases inbreeding becomes more likely. Close breeding increases the chances of recessive genes being manifest. And the gene that produces the dilute colouration is recessive as I understand it. (see Inbreeding of Wildcats).

The "Snow tiger" (not an accurate name) is a more extreme version of white tiger, when the stripes are rendered very pale.

The eyes of the white tiger lack color. This is reminiscent of the effect of the piebald or white spotting gene in domestic cats (see solid and white cat coats).

So the rarity (originally) of this cat is due to the rarity of the genetic condition as it is recessive. Its extreme rarity automatically makes it endangered in this world. The cat became rarer because humans are driven to kill and possess rare animals. The story of "Mohan" encompasses all we need to know about the failings of mankind in respect of the tiger. Mohan, a white tiger was captured as a cub in 1951 by a Maharaja (Shri Martand Singh of Rewa). He is the last recorded white tiger born in the wild (src: Wikipedia). He was found in what is now a reserve, Bandhavgarh. The Maharaja and his hunting party found a tigress with her four 9 month old white babies. All of them were shot bar one, Mohan. How mad and cruel is that! Of course in those days it was the done thing. The Maharaja liked to kill rare tigers.

Having spared Mohan (the name means "Enchanter") he offered the opportunity to kill it to a fellow Maharaja Ajit Singh, who declined. When we read this now we are horrified but this one episode explains why we call it the endangered white tiger. In fact all tigers, white or not, are highly endangered. Where once it was the fun of sport hunting and trophy collecting that killed the tiger (it probably still does) it is now more about the tiger body part trade to supply Chinese medicine.

Mohan died in captivity aged 20 and very famous. The last white tiger ever seen was shot. It happened in 1958. The Wikipedia author just says this coldly. Why is mankind so eager to shoot and kill the last remaining wild white tiger?

The Wikipedia author says this, "Because of the extreme rarity of the white tiger allele in the wild, the breeding pool was limited to the small number of white tigers in captivity." I take this to mean that breeding in the wild is now non-functional and therefore the endangered white tiger is functionally extinct in the wild. The problem seems to be that mankind wiped out the white tiger so comprehensively in the wild that there weren't even sufficient retained as captive cats from which to successfully breed.

Today it all happens in captivity and in starting from such a narrow pool of foundation cats in captivity from which to breed, inbreeding health issues reared their ugly head. Such inbreeding defects have included:

  • shortened tendons of the forelegs
  • club foot
  • kidney problems
  • arched or crooked backbone
  • twisted neck

It is very sad to read about this. How mankind has reduced a once proud animal to this. The problems of inbreeding were apparently eased by outcrossing to orange tigers. But there is always the need for commercial gain, to produce white tigers and the numbers of white tigers produced is greater when two white tigers breed (each having 2 copies of the recessive allele). 100% of their offspring will be homozygous white tigers. If two tiger mate that each have only one copy of the dilution gene, then, on average:

  • 25% of their offspring will be white
  • 50% will be heterozygous orange (white gene carriers)
  • 25% will be homozygous orange, with no white genes

This is less commercially profitable. At it is about profit, largely. In China white tigers are overbreed (i.e. too frequently) and the Wikipedia author alludes to the fact that this is for purely commercial reasons, to make white tiger wine and other so called medicinal products.

Conclusion

Obviously, the white tiger is endangered because of mankind's activity. Latterly the white tiger is ruthlessly exploited commercially in captivity causing inbreeding. There is now an overproduction of white tigers so it could be argued that the white tiger is no longer endangered. Yes, I agree that it is not endangered in the conventional meaning of the word (i.e. its survival) but this cat's wellbeing is endangered in captivity because too much emphasis is placed on the commercialisation of the white tiger. They are a money making product. It is little to do with so called conservation. Although that is the pretext under which commercialisation of the endangered white tiger is conducted.

Endangered White Tiger: Photo header: published under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs creative commons License -- this site is for charitable purposes in funding cat rescue.

Comments for
Endangered White Tiger

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Feb 15, 2012 aww
by: Katniss

sad yet cute animals


Jan 10, 2012 why people hunt them
by: amber

the reason why people hunt and want to own white tigers is because they are very rare and they want there fur so they can wear it or just hang it in there house it is wrong to hunt white tigers how would u fell if you were to get hunt by someone or something because u are very rare it is just not right i love animals and i hope to work with them after i get out of collage because people just think it is fun to hunt animals and that is how they are becoming extinct


Apr 28, 2011 The White Tiger is a fraud
by: Mehi

Do not support the breeding of white tigers. All they are used for is money grabbing. All white tigers are sick. 8 out of 10 white tigers born die before they are born. 90% of all white tigers who are born alive are PUT TO DEATH for not being beautiful. Inbreeding used to create these "beautiful" creatures causes crossed eyes, clubbed foot, abnormally curved spines, low immune systems, cleft palettes, and many other defects. They are not conservation worthy. Let this majestic creature die in peace. Stop torturing the declining tiger populations. Support the true tiger breeds who are dying out. They need your help.


Mar 22, 2011 hghghgf
by: Anonymous

Ruude.


Mar 17, 2011 hi
by: Anonymous

fuk u


Mar 16, 2011 THANKS!!!
by: Luis Delgado

Thanks for this info i really needed it for my research paper.....=D


Feb 22, 2011 white tigers and people
by: Kathy ,age10.

i like tigers mostly white tigers but y do sooooo many people kill them i bet it is for there fur.


Jan 21, 2011 WOW
by: Anonymous

wow i never knew so much about white tigers till know!


Dec 08, 2010 hahaha
by: Anonymous

all you people suck, and you ever wrote this is as dumb as a rock, my little girl can write better info than you and she only three..so fuck and bye all you dumbasses


Dec 08, 2010 hahaha
by: Anonymous

all you people suck, and you ever wrote this is as dumb as a rock, my little girl can write better info than you and she only three..so fuck and bye all you dumbasses


Nov 23, 2010 why i care so much!!!
by: jessie wright, age 12

white tigers are no less than beautiful.ther pattern is so sheek and..............................................i dont know how else to disscribe the white tiger, but just plain beautiful.


Nov 23, 2010 why i care so much!!!
by: jessie wright, age 12

white tigers are no less than beautiful.ther pattern is so sheek and..............................................i dont know how else to disscribe the white tiger, but just plain beautiful.


Nov 22, 2010 white tigers
by: miss honest

these tigers are soooooooo cute. WHY,WHY,WHY? would you want to kill them. Pathetic beasts. Bloody lowlifes. wouldnt you be shittin yourself if some odd person came and said they wanted to hunt you, woudnt you be scared. its so fuckin pathetic


Nov 22, 2010 white tigers
by: miss honest

these tigers are soooooooo cute. WHY,WHY,WHY? would you want to kill them. Pathetic beasts. Bloody lowlifes. wouldnt you be shittin yourself if some odd person came and said they wanted to hunt you, woudnt you be scared. its so fuckin pathetic


Oct 26, 2010 jerks out there
by: dirty sanchez

ok for the retards who said haha there almost extinct ill remeber tht when u die . (; andd forr all the other assholes who say it dont matter whatever god put them here for a reason dumbass soo wow i hope these guys make it and bite ur fuckin heads off


Oct 26, 2010 jerks out there
by: dirty sanchez

ok for the retards who said haha there almost extinct ill remeber tht when u die . (; andd forr all the other assholes who say it dont matter whatever god put them here for a reason dumbass soo wow i hope these guys make it and bite ur fuckin heads off


Oct 26, 2010 cute:)
by: elizabeth & kana

there so cute!!!!!!!!!


Oct 07, 2010 faget
by: Anonymous

what up lil mama wana suck my dick


Oct 04, 2010 White Tiger : Let freedom administered them to zoos
by: Vijay Singh, Journalist, SIDHI

White tiger Mohan catcher Hunter Gullo Baheliya, Ram Dulare, Babu Lal, Kalloo Baheliya is still alive in Govindgarh.
For Tiger conservation of the world's people agree. The rare white Tiger born Mohan site is still suitable for tiger court. Mohan was found where there yet natural caves, waterfalls, Banas River and to eat deer, chital, Sabhar, pigs Sanjay Tiger Reserve National Park has plenty.

Tiger Lover of my appeal to world opinion that India says to reinstall the white tiger Ahiँ Zay naturally have the right to live where his ancestors had been arrested Mohan. Let freedom administered them to zoos.


Sep 28, 2010 Real Story of MOHAN
by: Vijay Singh, Journalist, SIDHI

White Tiger Mohan, SIDHI district Badagadi Sanjay National Park on May 27, 1951 was caught in the wild. This standard is true. Bandhavgarh say Mohan was found in the white lie. Mohan was caught in the forest area,of the forest area was named Mohan Range.
Late King Martand Singh, the victim of a Baghin. Hunters said the dead tigress with cubs three is one of which is white. Cubs by getting off to catch live prey Emperor immediately instructed. Mohan was arrested and then went up in fort of Govindgarh and today his descendants are all over the world.


Sep 01, 2010 White Tigers
by: Anonymous

I think that White Tigers need to stay alive. I mean yes they are rare, but still if people didn't kill them off there would be alot of them. I like white tigers and I want one, but just because they are rate that doesn't mean to kill them.


May 20, 2010 skool reserach
by: itzel

MAN THIS IS GOOD INFORMATION BUT I THINK THAT YOU GUEYS CAN PUT A LIL MORE CUS I AM DOING THIS TO HELP MA BOYFIRNED ON HIS PROJECT AND I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW MORE INFORMATION OR FIND MORE INFORMATION.I HAVE TO ADMIT THIS IS REALLY INTRESTING MAN HOPE WE CAN HELP THIS POOR ANIMALS BECOUSE I AM STARING TO LIKE THEM SOO MUCH.I UNDERSTAND DOES PEOPLE THAT ARE REALLY IN LOVE WITH THIS ANIMALS!!


Apr 26, 2010 people need to get lives
by: need this ionfo for my project


for the retard who said the tiger wont tell the differenece between the white nd orange it actually would even if they are colorblind the tiger will see that the white one is lighter than the rest!! nd for wow i dont care if u didnt care y waste ur time leaving commetns.


Apr 22, 2010 Tiger Facts please!!!!!!! i wnt to know more!
by: KristenLoveTigers

Isn't there anything else i need to know about white bengal tigers! What else is new about them, im just curious IM REALLY A BIG FAN OF WHITE BENGAL TIGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Apr 22, 2010 Tiger Facts please!!!!!!! i wnt to know more!
by: KristenLoveTigers

Isn't there anything else i need to know about white bengal tigers! What else is new about them, im just curious IM REALLY A BIG FAN OF WHITE BENGAL TIGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Apr 22, 2010 Tiger Facts please!!!!!!! i wnt to know more!
by: KristenLoveTigers

Isn't there anything else i need to know about white bengal tigers! What else is new about them, im just curious IM REALLY A BIG FAN OF WHITE BENGAL TIGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Apr 22, 2010 Cool!
by: Kristen Loves White Bengal Tigers

Did You know the White Bengal Tiger is the world's 1st strongest wildcat! The 2nd strongest wildcat is the Male African Lion!


Apr 09, 2010 These things happen and you got to move on.
by: Anonymous

Animals come and go so do humans. Just got to continue life as it is and move on from these things. Cant be stressing over smalls tuff like this. Yes i know its sad but stuff happens and you gotta live throught it.


Mar 03, 2010 wow i dount care
by: aaron nantz

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhaahhaahahahahahahahathey are almost exstenked


Jan 11, 2010 tHE bEASt WitHiN...
by: Anonymous

yo thee white tiger is a bomm dizzle beast. He chews on its prey and qobbles down food. aka U BITCH.! dnt let its beauty fool you. Its a qeorqus view but under those lovinq eyes, a beast is waitinq to be awakend. bujajajajajaja


Jan 07, 2010 =]
by: Anonymous

lalalalalalalala...


Jan 07, 2010 =]
by: Anonymous

lalalalalalalala...


Jul 21, 2009 white tiger cubs
by: Anonymous

Since tigers are color blind a mother tiger could not distinguish between her white and orange cubs. The idea that a mother tiger would abandon a white cub simply because it is white is ridiculous.


Jul 21, 2009 Wikipedia
by: Anonymous

The truth about Wikipedia is that it is more accurate than the encyclopedia, but the internet in general is not a good source for information


Jul 21, 2009 Ed Maruska
by: Anonymous

Ed Maruska, who was the director of the Cincinnati Zoo, discusses white tigers in the wild in Tigers Of The World. There's ample evidence from many sources that white tigers thrived in the wild, and reproduced themselves.


Jul 21, 2009 white tigers in the wild
by: Anonymous

This article discusses white tigers living in the wild: "Miscellaneous Notes: No. 1-A White Tiger In Captivity", from the Journal Of The Bombay natural History Society, pg. 932 No. 4, XXII (1921)"These white tigers roam the neighbouring British Districts of the Central Provinces and seem to be living in the Maikal range of mountains." http://www.messybeast.com/genetics/tigers-white.htm


Jul 21, 2009 white tigers in the wild
by: Anonymous

It has been pointed out that the natural prey of the tiger is color blind and could not distinguish between a white tiger and an orange tiger. I believe there are more refrences to white tigers living in the wild on the messybeast website. There were one or two white tigers living in the wild which the reigning Maharaja of Rewa at the time did not want anybody shooting. I think that was in 1920 or 1921. Also K.S. Sankhala in his book Tiger ! wrote that India intended to reintroduce white tigers to the wild, to a special reserve near Rewa. He was the director of the New Delhi Zoo and the first director of Project Tiger. I assume that he would have known if white tigers didn't survive in the wild. I don't think it's very likely that any tigers in the wild today carry the white gene.


Jul 01, 2009 Response to last comment
by: Michael (PoC Admin)

Carly, thanks for the comment (I always like comments) but with respect to you (and you have not respected me but insulted me), you have totally missed my point and then gone on to quote fact without supporting evidence (i.e doing what you are criticising me for).

First, though, I do not solely rely on Wikipedia which is in fact a good source of information, despite what you say. To say it is "not a valid source of information" is absurd. If that was true very little on the internet would be valid. The references to the Wikipedia articles are at the base of the article so a check as to source and reliability can be made. And the Wikipedia authors have done an excellent job of researching white tigers surviving in the wild quoting chapter and verse and referring to a ton of sources. They say the white can survive in the wild (see article). Wikipedia authors set higher standards than almost all others in that they quote exact references to anything said. Who else does that?

And in any event, I rely on many sources including the best book on wild cats, Wild Cats of the World by Mel and Fiona Sunquist. I use books more than the internet. So I do my research.

They mention the white tiger in their book but make no comment about endangerment. What I am saying is that the white tiger being a mutation could happen anytime in the wild, although extremely rarely (why not? as it is a mutation and mutations can and will occur on more than one occasion).

And the white tiger is endangered in the wild (if it exists in the wild still) and in captivity through gross inbreeding. Inbreeding endangers survival because of poor sperm quality and inbreeding defects.

You say that a white tiger couldn't survive in the wild because it is white yet produce no supporting evidence for that. I think this statement is rash. If one exists in the wild it is probable or at least possible that it would survive being the top predator (bar humans, who would kill it) and due to its hunting skills. Yes, being white would make it harder to survive but not necessarily impossible as you state (and my assessment is supported by the Wikipedia authors as mentioned above). If it was impossible it would be due to human intervention.

The point is this. My argument is more subtle than you give credit for or recognise. A mutation may have occurred recently and as a consequence there may be a white tiger out there and it is endangered. That alone makes my article valid.


Jun 30, 2009 Learn to Research
by: Carly

Please do us all a favor and learn to research before creating articles like this on the internet. White tigers are not endangered because of human interference, they are being kept alive because of human interference. White tigers can not survive in the wild because they have no sufficient camouflage. They could never hunt because there white fur makes them easily spotted. This is why the only reports of white tigers found in the wild are of white tiger cubs. There are extinct in the wild only because they can simply not survive in the wild and were not supposed. They only exist because of being held in captivity and being bred. They are not a separate species of tiger, just a defect. True, they are inbred and used for money which is sad... However, it is worse that we convince many people, such as yourself, that these tigers are actually endangered and can actually survive in the wild.

Wikipedia is not a valid source of information because anyone can write stuff on there. There have been many reports of people writing fake stuff on there, and many people start believing it is true. So next time you think you are writing something true, "Please provide supporting evidence to what I consider unfounded and shallow argument" as quoted by yourself.


Apr 23, 2009 The former comment is poorly argued
by: Michael

You mention two reasons why the white tiger is rare. The third reason and most important is the one I gave in my article (poaching). Your reasons are partially valid perhaps. But the tiger is the top predator so color is less important and I do not believe that mothers leave their white cubs to die because they are white. Where did you get that from? A mother tiger is not going think like that about her cubs, overriding her natural instincts. The instinct for the mother is the preservation of the cubs for survival of the family.

Please provide supporting evidence to what I consider unfounded and shallow argument.


Apr 18, 2009 white tigers cant live in wild
by: Anonymous

ummmmmm do u think a WHITE TIGER could hunt its prey, in the jungle something giant and white is going to stick out, the reason u dont see white tigers in the wild is yes one because the gene is very rare, and two beacuse they die, mothers would leave a white cub because it would draw attention to the other cubs, and if for some miracle she had all white cubs the chance of her keeping them alive long enough to grow up is very slim. the only place that large white mammals do well is in the artic and its called a polar bear.



Comments

Endangered White Tiger — 7 Comments

  1. I recently drafted the genealogies of white tigers from Mohan in the 1950s through to the zoo population in the 1990s. It’s something I’ve been studying since the late 1990s with the help of 2 people in the USA (one a former zoo-keeper who moved there from England). I’m now making enquiries to bring it more up-to-date. What you’ll see from the charts is a horrific level of inbreeding being used to mass-produce white tigers for zoos, circuses and private owners – multiple levels of brother-sister or father-daughter matings.

    http://www.messybeast.com/genetics/tigers-white-genealogies.htm

    I’ve put these all online to try to educate people that white tigers are the result of generations of unhealthy breeding practices.

    The snow white tigers can all trace their ancestry to an extremely inbred individual (Bhim) and because they also have Amur tigers in their family tree they are not pure Bengal tigers and are considered “genetic junk” (so they cannot be released into the wild because they would pollute the orange Bengal tiger population with Amur tiger genes). Some may have Indo-Chinese ancestry as that subspecies was not considered distinct from Bengal tigers when the white tigers were originally bred.

    Far from being an endangered species, they are the equivalent of a cat breed such as a Persian cat and are bred for exhibition, not for conserving wild tigers. They take up space in zoos that could be used for protecting and conserving the genuine subspecies of tigers. Although many zoos and owners refer to outcrossing their white tigers to unrelated white tigers, in practice those unrelated white tigers are descended from the same ancestors.

    The best that can be said for white tigers is that they attract people to zoos and the entrance money can be used to support genuine conservation efforts. On the other hand there are facilities that call themselves “conservation parks” in the USA that are white tiger mills, churning out horrifically inbred white tigers for private owners. The genetic mistakes born in those tiger mills are either destroyed or off-loaded onto tiger rescue organisations (for example the inbred pug-faced white tiger Kenny who lived at Turpentine Creek).

    Siegfriend & Roy claimed to have helped save “Royal White Tigers. Actually they’ve just perpetuated white mongrel tigers, but let’s not allow facts to get in the way of media hype and self-advertising. They were the first to selectively breed stripeless white tigers, which they did by mating Sitarra to her brother Neva i.e. even more inbreeding. Sitarra and Neva’s parents were also brother and sister.

    Generations of inbreeding have caused other recessive genes to emerge, resulting in the golden tiger (also called golden tabby tiger). These have never been recorded in the wild. One private breeder, whose records are not available to outsiders, is also selectively breeding stripeless light-brown tigers – I shudder to think how much inbreeding it has taken to fix that colour type.

    As if the excessive inbreeding isn’t enough, white tigers are sometimes crossed to lions to give white (pale yellow really) ligers.

    • Fabulous comment, Sarah. Thanks a lot for that. Love your comment because it is a powerful combination of passion and science. Highly effective.

      I’d like to turn it into an article. Would you let me do that, please? It will then get more exposure and carry more weight. It deserves it.

      • Feel free – I finished the current phase of the genealogy project and thought of you. Look for photos of Kenny, the deformed tiger who lived at Turpentine Creek (a rescue sanctuary) to illustrate it. I’m pretty sure I know whose tiger mill he came from, and I know that his parents were brother and sister. His parents were turned over to a sanctuary when they no longer produced viable cubs for sale. As far as I can make out, inbred Kenny and his parents came from the same place that Jupiter (the inbred white tiger that killed Cat Dancer Joy Guay and a trainer) came from (Riverglen – a mass-production breeding facility that calls itself a conservation park) It’s believed that the breeder falsified Jupiter’s papers to hide the inbreeding.

        • You’re doing a great job in helping to stop this. It is an almost impossible task mind you – too much money in the “white tiger business”. A typical example of animal exploitation at its worst.

          Thanks for letting me use your comment as a article.

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