White Tigers Are Not an Endangered Species
The White Tiger is not an Endangered Species. White tigers are a rarely occurring aberrant of nature. Their colour is not natural and within a wild environment it would seriously hamper them as a hunter. Nature has equipped the normal tiger with a pelage which allows it to camouflage itself to blend with ease into its natural environment. White Tigers do occur in the wild but they are extremely rare. They are rare because their prey can see them coming. They stand out, rather like a black polar bear. A wild White Tiger is much more likely to die of starvation or be shot by a poacher. They are naturally disadvantaged.
The White Tiger is not an albino. It is a leucistic animal and usually has blue eyes rather than pink. As animals go it is an extremely attractive beast. All White Tigers are Bengal Tigers (Panthera tigris tigris) species but this does not make the White Tiger a species in its own right. It remains a freak of nature. Frequently newspaper articles will refer to them as 'White Siberian Tigers'. They are not. All White Tigers are essentially Bengal Tigers.
The captive population of White Tigers today has been deliberately produced by man. Breeding has been controlled. Brother with sister, son with mother, father with daughter. No thought as to the welfare of the animals as a whole but simply to produce more white coloured animals. Such inbreeding has produced many deformed and weakly cubs. White Tigers though are popular. People like to see them but are largely unaware of the inhumane activities.
Because they are popular some zoos are prepared to purchase and breed from them to earn money. From an educational point of view they are quite useful but on a conservation level they have no value at all. Good zoos, zoos which are serious about their work would never entertain breeding White Tigers today.
One of the main purposes of keeping tigers, and all animals, in captivity today is to manage and breed with the aim of returning genetically viable populations to the wild at some point in the future. This is a long term project looking more than a hundred years ahead. Captive populations of many animals, including the six sub-species of tiger are managed by studbook and species coordinators. National and International cooperation between zoos is there to move animals about so that unrelated animals breed and that there is a good 'gene spread'.
The White Tiger does not figure anywhere within this plan. White Tigers are dangerously interbred as well as inter sub-species mixed. They are of zero conservation value. White Tigers are unhelpful to breeding programmes as these 'useless' animals take up valuable captive space which could be utilised for genuine conservation concern. Sadly, this unfortunate animal and its kin is taking up a lot of space. There is a single zoo in China which holds 200 and worldwide the population must be around two thousand.
For further information please read 'White Tiger Breeding is Not Conservation' http://hubpages.com/hub/White-Tiger-Breeding-is-Not-Conservation and refer to the Zoo News Digest Blog http://zoonewsdigest.blogspot.com/ for regularly updated news and opinion on zoos around the world.
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