White Tiger Breeding is Not Conservation
The Tiger is under severe threat through loss of habitat and poaching to supply an illicit trade in animal parts.
We are lucky in that there are six Tiger sub-species still surviving. These are the Bengal Tiger Panthera tigris tigris , the Amur Tiger Panthera tigris altaica , the South China Tiger Panthera tigris amoyensis , the Indochinese Tiger Panthera tigris corbetti , the Sumatran Tiger Panthera tigris sumatrae and the Malayan Tiger Panthera tigris jacksoni .
Sadly, very sadly, in my lifetime we have lost the Javan Tiger Panthera tigris sondaica , the Bali Tiger Panthera tigris balica and the Caspian Tiger Panthera tigris virgata .
None of these Tigers is a WHITE species. There is NO species or sub-species of white tiger!
Today people. through zoo education and TV documentaries are much more of aware of the threats that Tigers are facing and more is being done to protect them in the wild. The South China Tiger is just hanging on in the wild and with luck may well be saved.
Zoos today offer the tigers best hope with excellent scientifically managed breeding programmes. These will ensure that we have captive animals for many years to come.
White Tiger Profile
The White Tiger
The White Tiger is a mutant, a freak of nature, an aberration of the Bengal Tiger Panthera tigris tigris . The Tigers are not albinos but are leucistic. They do occur in the wild, but only rarely. There are a number of records of animals being hunted and shot over the past one hundred years or so. Left to their own in the wild they could possibly survive but they would be disadvantaged by their colour. Their prey would see them coming!
There are no White Tigers in the wild today. The captive White Tiger population has been deliberately 'manufactured' by man. There is a huge population consisting of hundreds of unmanaged White Tigers in Texas and China alone.
Keeping animals in captivity today revolves around Breeding Programmes and Conservation. It is a long term project involving co-operation between reputable 'good' zoos, the world over. The aim is to have strong, genetically viable populations for release into the wild at some point in the future.
This can NEVER happen with White Tigers. White Tigers ancestry has been now so messed about with that they can almost be considered a 'domestic' breed. White Tigers are now sub specific hybrids and carry a host of genetic defects. They cannot be released to the wild.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service says:
“Generic or crossed tigers cannot be used for enhancement of propagation of the species, however they can be used in a manner that should enhance survival of the species in the wild. Examples include exhibition in a manner designed to educate the public about the ecological role and conservation needs of the species and satisfaction of demand for tigers so that wild specimens or captive purebred subspecies are not used .”
The IUCN Guidelines for Re-introductions states:
“It is desirable that source animals come from wild populations. If there is a choice of wild populations to supply founder stock for translocation, the source population should ideally be closely related genetically to the original native stock and show similar ecological characteristics (morphology, physiology, behaviour, habitat preference) to the original sub-population .”
“If captive or artificially propagated stock is to be used, it must be from a population which has been soundly managed both demographically and genetically, according to the principles of contemporary conservation biology .”
and the World Zoo Conservation strategy says:
“Demographic stability is needed to ensure that an adequate number of animals of breeding age are available to reproduce at the rates needed to increase or maintain the population at its desired size. Healthy populations are needed to ensure that animals are capable of breeding when needed. Genetic diversity is required for populations to remain healthy and adapt to changing environments (i.e. experience natural selection). Ex situ breeding programmes need to preserve this diversity, otherwise the long-term fitness of these populations will be compromised .”
“A primary goal of cooperative ex situ breeding programmes for threatened and endangered species is to support in situ conservation. This may be through rescue of species imminently threatened with extinction in the wild, through research, education, or promotion efforts that support in situ populations, or simply as genetic and demographic reservoirs serving as backups for endangered wild populations .”
No responsible zoo, no zoo that is concerned about conservation should be breeding White Tigers. The space taken up by White Tigers in captivity could be utilised for keeping and breeding other Tiger sub-species which are in desperate need.
Breeding White Tigers is NOT clever. It is irresponsible, it is harmful to other tiger species.
Take a look at the photograph above. Two baby chimpanzees. One normally coloured and the other not. In spite of the huge difference between the two that abnormal chimpanzee is more normal than every single white tiger in captivity. Yes! EVERY captive white tiger. Every last one of them.
Why? Because this little chimp is a naturally occurring freak (and freak is the word to use...look it up in a dictionary). It has been born in the wild without the interference of man.
ALL captive white tigers, yes all, every last one of them are as a result of man. Man has deliberately crossed brother with sister and daughter with son to produce more and more white tigers. Past, previously wild born white tigers have all been Bengal Tigers. This is not good enough for the Frankenstein zoo breeders and so they have crossed the white tigers still further with another sub species...the Amur tiger and so give a bit of size.
Because of this inbreeding many of the captive white tigers are born with genetic faults which means the cubs are put down shortly after birth. Some of course are born normal coloured (but still inbred and so of no conservation value) and these are put down too (not because they have no conservation value but because they are the wrong colour...that is not white!).
This is so very very wrong. What these irresponsible breeders have done is create a breed. The captive white tiger that is now far removed from its original. It could be compared to a dalmation as to a wolf. No matter how you look at it this is not clever and it is not conservation. Some collections argue that they keep and breed white tigers to raise money for conservation of tigers in the wild. I am sure that some may actually do so but they are lining their own pockets first. That is their main consideration.
Look back to the photograph of the chimpanzee. I don't know where this little animal is located or if it is even still living. Rest assured however that if some irresponsible zoo were to get hold of it they would be doing their best to breed from it in the name of conservation. Conservation it is not!
Watch Video and learn more
Another Reason Not To Breed White Tigers
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