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White Tigers

All White Tigers Are Inbred and Are Not Purebred

 

White Tiger PhotoThe ONLY way to produce a tiger or lion with a white coat is through inbreeding brother to sister or father to daughter; generation after generation after generation.  The kind of severe inbreeding that is required to produce the mutation of a white coat also causes a number of other defects in these big cats.

 

In June 2011 the board of directors for the American Zoological Association (AZA) formalized their 2008 ban on the breeding of white tigers, white lions or king cheetahs by their member zoos.  Their report said, “Breeding practices that increase the physical expression of single rare alleles (i.e., rare genetic traits) through intentional inbreeding, for example intentional breeding to achieve rare color-morphs such as white tigers, deer, and alligators, has been clearly linked with various abnormal, debilitating, and, at times, lethal, external and internal conditions and characteristics, which are outlined in this paper.”   This change in policy came more than 12 years after Big Cat Rescue first released Dr. Laughlin’s expose below.

 

The same gene that causes the white coat causes the optic nerve to be wired to the wrong side of the brain, thus all white tigers are cross eyed, even if their eyes look normal.  They also often suffer from club feet, cleft palates, spinal deformities and defective organs.

 

The white coat is a double recessive gene so most of the cubs born through this inbreeding have normal coloring but they too suffer the same defects and are referred to in the trade as “throw away tigers.”  As such, they are often killed at birth because only the white tigers are the big money makers.  And because none of these cats are purebred (they are all crosses between Bengal tigers and Siberian tigers), they serve no conservation purpose.

 

The American Zoological Association (AZA) recognizes that these cats should not be bred and admonishes AZA accredited zoos not to breed any more of them.  The leader of the tiger Species Survival Plan states openly that the only reason people breed white tigers is because people will pay to see white tigers.

 

You can end the misery by just Saying NO to any place that breeds or exploits white tigers.

 

 

 

The White Tiger Fraud

Did you know the only way to produce a white tiger is through severe inbreeding of brother to sister, father to daughter and mother to son?

 

Did you know that there is no such species as a Royal White Bengal Tiger?

If you didn’t know that, don’t feel bad, you were deceived just like millions of others.  Read on to learn the truth about white tigers, white lions, tabby tigers and other genetic aberrations.  Print the White Tiger Fact Sheet Brochure

Over the years many people have asked us to take white tigers off their hands, but in every case it was only so they could breed more babies to use, so we declined. For years we have railed against supporting facilities that breed and exhibit white tigers because of the abuse involved in producing them. White Tigers can ONLY exist in captivity by continual inbreeding, such as father to daughter, brother to sister, mother to son and so forth. The white lions and golden tabby tigers are merely a product of this practice of inbreeding for white coats as well and are not being bred for any sort of conservation program either. ALL white tigers are cross eyed, whether it shows or not, because the gene that causes the white coat always causes the optic nerve to be wired to the wrong side of the brain.  That is why white tigers are such a favorite of the tiger-tamer-wanabees;  they are far more dependent upon their masters.  (See genetics and time line of the inbreeding below)

The myth of the Rare White Bengal Tiger was an illusion meant to deceive the public into thinking that these cats were endangered and being preserved for future generations. The truth of the matter is that they aren’t even pure Bengal tigers, but rather are all the offspring of an original Siberian / Bengal cross breeding. The inbreeding results in many defects, early deaths, still births and, as could be expected, the cats are not very bright which is why they are preferred for entertainment purposes.

To quote from Dr. Ron Tilson, Conservation Director of the Minnesota Zoo and manager of the world renown Tiger Species Survival Plan, “The white tiger controversy among zoos is a small part ethics and a large part economics. The tiger Species Survival Plan has condemned breeding white tigers because of their mixed ancestry, most have been hybridized with other subspecies and are of unknown lineage, and because they serve no conservation purpose. Owners of white tigers say they are popular exhibit animals and increase zoo attendance and revenues as well. The same rationalization can be applied to the selective propagation of white lions, king cheetahs and other phenotypically aberrant animals.”

“White tigers are an aberration artificially bred and proliferated
by some zoos, private breeders and a few circuses who do so for
economic rather than conservation reasons.”

“However, there is an unspoken issue that shames the very integrity of zoos, their alleged conservation programs and their message to the visiting public. To produce white tigers or any other phenotypic curiosity, directors of zoos and other facilities must continuously inbreed father to daughter and father to granddaughter and so on. At issue is a contradiction of fundamental genetic principles upon which all Species Survival Plans for endangered species in captivity are based. White tigers are an aberration artificially bred and proliferated by some zoos, private breeders and a few circuses who do so for economic rather than conservation reasons.”

As for breeding tigers of any color, Ron Tilson says, “For private owners to say, ‘We’re saving tigers,’ is a lie,” Tilson says. “They are not saving tigers; they’re breeding them for profit.”

Tilson says the exotic animal market is a multimillion dollar industry, ranking just below the illegal drug trade and just above the illegal gun market.

Tilson says tigers are the most charismatic animal on earth. Their appeal is universal. “They are the alpha predator who used to kill and eat us,” he says. “We cannot help but be in awe of their power and grace. Tigers represent everything fine and decent and powerful. Everything those people would like to be. It’s all an ego trip—big guns, big trucks, and big tigers.”

…most have such profound birth defects, such as immune deficiency,
scoliosis of the spine (distorted spine), cleft palates, mental impairments and grotesquely crossed eyes that bulge from their skull…

Consider this: Only 1 in 4 tiger cubs from a white tiger bred to an orange tiger carrying the white gene are born white, and 80% of those die from birth defects associated with the inbreeding necessary to cause a white coat.

Of those surviving, most have such profound birth defects, such as immune deficiency, scoliosis of the spine (distorted spine), cleft palates, mental impairments and grotesquely crossed eyes that bulge from their skull that only a small percentage are suitable for display. Due to these birth defects the white tigers often die an early death.  According to some tiger trainers, only 1 in 30 of those white cats will consistently perform. The number of tigers that have to be produced and disposed of in order to fill the public’s desire to see white tigers on display is staggering.

Big Cat Rescue has never taken in a white tiger before because we did not want to enable people to dispose of their “defective” cats and cause so much more suffering and abuse by having an easy dumping ground for the cats who didn’t serve them.

Even though Zabu is black and white, the decision of whether or not to rescue her was not. When Zabu and Cameron’s plight came to our attention we had to think long and hard about whether or not we would have a white tiger on our tour. We didn’t want to be perceived as using a white tiger to draw visitors.

Many times on our tours we tell guests about the fraud that has been promoted to the public about white tigers and talk about all of our golden tigers who ended up unwanted and abandoned at our door because they were the wrong color. Now we were considering turning away a white tiger because she was the wrong color. In her case the facility was being shut down and by rescuing her we were not enabling the owner to breed more and we were keeping a cat of prime breeding age from falling into the hands of people who would breed her to death.

Every year we have to turn away hundreds of big cats. Please do not support those who breed these majestic animals for a life of cruel confinement. No animal, especially a tiger, belongs in a cage.  Carole Baskin, Founder Big Cat Rescue

 

Zoo Vet on the White Tiger Fraud

 

by Dan Laughlin, DVM, Ph.D.

 

I would like to take this opportunity to offer a very relevant fact regarding all the white tigers that are currently in the U.S. About twenty-five years ago I fully researched and documented the accurate genealogy and origin of the white tiger in the U.S. That research revealed that there were and are two separate origins of white tigers. The one that has received all the attention is the Indian or Bengal tiger bloodline which originated in India and entered the U.S. via a breeding loan to the National Zoo. One of the Indian origin tigers carrying the recessive gene for the white color was the mother of the second litter of white tigers born at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1976.

The original litter of white tigers born at Cincinnati in 1974 and all subsequent Indian origin bloodline white tigers soon died out in the U.S. without leaving any pure Indian origin Bengal white tigers in the U.S.

What is not known, because I have never published my research definitively showing the true origin of the white tiger in the U.S., is that there is a second and separate origin of the white tiger which occurred spontaneously in two separate private collections in this country when both owners inbred brothers to sisters that were all offspring of two litters resulting from crossing a pure Siberian male and a Bengal female at a small zoo in South Dakota.

Kenny the White Tiger died in 2008Of the twelve live cubs born to the Siberian male and Bengal female at that small zoo, one of the private individuals purchased a litter of two cubs, a brother and sister, and the other individual purchased another litter of five cubs, brothers and sisters, through an animal dealer. Both individuals inbred their brothers and sisters and spontaneously had white tiger cubs born. One white male crossbred tiger, half-Siberian and half-Bengal, was placed on loan to the Cincinnati Zoo where he was crossed with a white carrier female Bengal tiger on loan from the National Zoo. That hybrid crossing in 1976 of the two separate white tiger origin bloodlines produced a litter of four white tiger cubs and one normal colored white carrier cub.

“the Zoo proceeded to repeatedly inbreed… the white male to his white female sister… Thus, every white tiger ever born at the Cincinnati Zoo is part Siberian tiger and part Bengal tiger… It is those offspring which have been disseminated throughout the U.S.”

The Cincinnati Zoo then returned both parents and three of the cubs to the two exhibitors that had placed their adults there on loan and then the Zoo proceeded to repeatedly inbreed back and forth the white male to his white female sister that the Zoo had retained ownership of for themselves. Thus, every white tiger ever born at the Cincinnati Zoo was and is part Siberian tiger and part Bengal tiger to a greater or lesser degree.

It is those offspring which have been disseminated throughout the U.S. One of the individuals who owned the litter of five brothers and sisters representing the American crossbred white tiger bloodline has continued to inbreed his tigers for over the past twenty-five years even though his neonate mortality rate has often exceeded eighty per cent and his tigers are severely defective and unfit.

By pure chance and against overwhelming odds, when the two separate bloodlines, the Indian and American, were crossed for the first and only time at the Cincinnati Zoo, the offspring were fairly thrifty and of normal birth weight.

Interestingly, anyone with even cursory experience with and knowledge of the five remaining and endangered subspecies of tigers should be able to simply look at the white tigers throughout the U.S. and clearly see the phenotypic Siberian characteristics present in the cats. Some weigh up to seven hundred pounds and most clearly resemble and exhibit Siberian tiger physical characteristics.

The only conceivable legitimate reason for exhibiting a white tiger would be for educational purposes to clearly and unequivocally illustrate to the public the process of natural selection and how, when a deleterious recessive genetic mutation randomly occurs that is disadvantageous for the survival of the animal, such as white color in a tropical jungle environment, the animal does not survive to pass on that genetic mutation or disadvantageous characteristic to its offspring.

This was the normal course of natural selection and evolution of the tiger until a young white tiger male was captured in 1951, raised and then inbred to one of his daughters by a Maharajah in India who had captured him. Then, in the early 1970’s, the recessive genetic mutation for the white color was present in both the male Siberian tiger and the female Bengal tiger that were exhibited and bred at the small zoo in South Dakota resulting in the origin of the American white tiger bloodline.

white tigerTo quote from Dr. Ron Tilson, Conservation Director of the Minnesota Zoo, “The white tiger controversy among zoos is a small part ethics and a large part economics. The tiger Species Survival Plan has condemned breeding white tigers because of their mixed ancestry, most have been hybridized with other subspecies and are of unknown lineage, and because they serve no conservation purpose. Owners of white tigers say they are popular exhibit animals and increase zoo attendance and revenues as well. The same rationalization can be applied to the selective propagation of white lions, king cheetahs and other phenotypically aberrant animals.”

“However, there is an unspoken issue that shames the very integrity of zoos, their alleged conservation programs and their message to the visiting public. To produce white tigers or any other phenotypic curiosity, directors of zoos and other facilities must continuously inbreed father to daughter and father to granddaughter and so on. At issue is a contradiction of fundamental genetic principles upon which all Species Survival Plans for endangered species in captivity are based. White tigers are an aberration artificially bred and proliferated by some zoos, private breeders and a few circuses who do so for economic rather than conservation reasons.”

“…every white tiger in the U.S. is not only the result of repeated inbreeding of genetically defective animals but, even worse, is a hybrid or crossbred animal.”

Dr. Tilson made these comments before I informed him that all the white tigers in the U.S. are crossbred or hybrid animals, part Siberian and part Bengal.

So, in conclusion, every white tiger in the U.S. is not only the result of repeated inbreeding of genetically defective animals but, even worse, is a hybrid or crossbred animal. Thus, anyone involved in breeding and/or exhibiting white tigers is doing a great disservice to honest conservation and preservation efforts to save the five remaining and endangered subspecies of tigers barely clinging to survival in their rapidly diminishing natural habitats.

“anyone involved in breeding and/or exhibiting white tigers is doing a great disservice to … conservation … efforts to save the 5 … species of tigers…”

The genealogical misrepresentation, repeated inbreeding, exhibition and sale, for $60,000 each, of white tigers by the Cincinnati Zoo initiated the greatest conservation deception of the American public in history. That deception continues through today. In my view, exhibiting and breeding white tigers is the very antithesis of conservation, is dishonest and unethical and is tantamount to catering to the public’s desire to see genetic aberrations rather than educating the public regarding the incredible process of natural selection, how the unbelievable diversity of life has evolved on our planet throughout the past 50 million years and the crucial need for us to preserve natural habitats and stop the destruction of our global ecosystem if we desire to save any threatened or endangered species from extinction.

Kenny the White Tiger died in 2008
This white tiger is not living on Easy Street!
His 4 photos are to illustrate the facial deformities that typically accompany the white gene.  You never see these “throw-away” cats on display in zoos. Click here to download a 2 page flier to share with others about why there is no pride in breeding for defects HERE

I hope this information helps inform visitors to your website.

Sincerely,

Daniel C. Laughlin, DVM, PhD

 

Note: Dr. Laughlin is widely recognized internationally for his expertise in the care and management of zoological animals, especially zoological cats and elephants. He has an international consulting practice limited to zoological animals and when he completed his research into the accurate genealogy of the white tiger he had well over 250 tigers in his practice alone.

He also completed a landmark four-year study in the 1970’s determining the efficacy, dosage and safety of a modified-live trivalent FVRC-P vaccine for use on zoological cats. That study included 224 zoological cats representing 19 different species and the results of that  vaccination study have saved the lives of thousands of captive zoological cats.

Dr. Laughlin has graciously agreed to be a Consultant for the care and management of our extensive collection of zoological cats at “Big Cat Rescue.”

 

 

Genetics of the White Tiger

 

White Tigers can ONLY exist in captivity by continual inbreeding, such as father to daughter, brother to sister, mother to son and so forth. This is because the white color is the result of a double recessive allele (gene) and thus the white color can only be produced by inbreeding one tiger carrying the recessive gene for the white color to another tiger carrying the same recessive gene. Before the five remaining species of tigers were pushed to the brink of extinction by the activities of humans, the random occurrence of one normal colored tiger carrying the recessive gene for the white color breeding to another normal colored tiger also carrying the recessive gene for white color, thus producing one or possibly two cubs possessing the double allele for the white color and consequently being born white, occurred about once in every 10,000 births. That statistical approximation is based upon recorded observations in the wild of white cubs. It should be noted that the first recorded observation of a white cub was made in the mid-fifteenth century and the only wild observations of white cubs have been in Bengal tigers.

Because the white coloration is so disadvantageous to survival there is no recorded evidence of a white cub ever living long enough in the wild to become an adult. That is why white tigers ONLY exist in captivity and then ONLY as the result of continual, destructive and unethical inbreeding. Thus, the concept of the “Royal Rare White Bengal Tiger” is a myth and likely the most deceptive misconception and most destructive conservation fraud ever perpetrated on the American public. The truth is that all the white tigers currently in the United States are not even Bengal tigers but are worthless hybrids or crossbreds originating from normal colored offspring born to a pure Siberian male tiger and a pure Bengal female tiger that were kept together during the 1960’s at the Sioux Falls, S.D. Zoo. Unknown to the Zoo at that time or to the two private exhibitors who purchased cubs from two litters born at the Zoo, all the normal colored cubs carried the recessive gene for the white color because either or both their Siberian father or their Bengal mother was a or were random carriers of the recessive mutant gene. Thus when the two private exhibitors that purchased litter mates from the Sioux Falls Zoo unethically bred brother to sister, the recessive mutant genes were paired, producing one or two white tigers.

“…private exhibitors have experienced neonatal mortality rates in excess of 80% because the recessive gene for the white color is a deleterious mutation…”

Both private exhibitors have experienced neonatal mortality rates in excess of 80% because the recessive gene for the white color is a deleterious mutation and thus is co-linked to numerous other deleterious and often fatal characteristics such as immune deficiency, strabismus (crossed eyes), scoliosis of the spine (distorted spine), cleft palates, mental impairments and early death.

The genetics of all recessive genes works like this:

If we assign, say a capital “N” to represent normal color in a tiger and a small “w” to represent white color (because the white color is recessive and the orange color is dominant), then a normal colored orange tiger would be represented as “NN” and a normal colored orange tiger carrying the recessive gene for the white color would be represented as “Nw.” So, if we bred a normal colored orange tiger to a normal colored orange tiger carrying the recessive gene for the white color, we would represent that cross as “NN” x “Nw” and the offspring would be represented as: half “NN” and half “Nw”. In other words, one-half of the cubs would be normal orange color non-carriers and one-half would be normal color orange carriers of the recessive white gene.

Then, if the two normal color orange carriers of the white gene were bred to each other (brother to sister) the genetic representation would be: “Nw” x “Nw” and the offspring would be something like this: one-forth “NN”, one-half “Nw” and one fourth “ww”.

In other words, one out of four cubs, statistically, would be a a normal orange colored non-carrier cub (“NN”), one-half of the cubs would be normal orange colored carriers of the recessive white gene (2 “Nw”) and one cub would be a double allele carrier of the white recessive gene (“ww”) and thus be colored white.

But, when you cross a white male to a white female (“ww” x “ww”) you can only have all white cubs born (“ww”) and that is what The Cincinnati Zoo and individuals such as Siegfried and Roy have been doing for at least the past fifteen generations, always breeding for large size, thus unknowingly emphasizing the Siberian phenotypic or physical characteristics deriving from “Kubla,” the pure Siberian male at the Sioux Falls, S.D. Zoo.

 

 

Inbreeding Time Line

 

Chronology of the white Bengal tiger up until the death of Mohan:

1820: A white tiger was displayed at Exeter Change.

1915: White tiger cub captured by Maharajah Gulab Singh of Rewa. Upon its death it was gifted to King George V as a sign of India’s loyalty to the crown.

25th May 1951: A forest laborer reported sighting a white tiger cub.

26th May 1951: The cub’s mother and two of its three siblings were shot and killed.

27th May 1951: Maharaja Martand Singh captured Mohan.

30th May 1951: The cub escapes and a large party goes out to recapture it.

26th February 1952: A normal colored tigress named Begum is captured.

10th April 1955: Begum produced a litter of a male and two female cubs. All were orange, as were all the cubs in her subsequent two litters.

December 1957: Mohan was mated with Radha, his four-year-old daughter from the second litter with Begum.

20th October 1958: Radha produced an all-white litter of a male and three female cubs. They were christened Raja, Rani, Sukeshi and Mohini. Subsequently:

The male and one female (Raja and Rani) were gifted to the National Zoological Gardens in New Delhi.

Mohini was transported to Washington D.C.

Sukeshi was kept for mating with Mohan and remained with him until he was withdrawn from breeding. She was then housed with her son in hopes they would breed but he showed no interest in mating with her and after six years without success she too was transferred to the National Zoological Gardens in New Delhi where she died on the 2nd February 1975.

May 1964: Raja and Rani were mated. Rani gave birth to two white cubs, a male and a female. She mauled both and the female died. The male, ‘Tippu’ lost his tail and was hand-raised with great difficulty.

August 1965: Two white cubs born to Rani. Both die due to neglect.

19th December 1965: Three white cubs are born to Rani. They were left in her care for just over a month, at which point she lost interest and they were hand-raised. The female dies at the age of 17-months and one male dies on the 17th April 1967 during shipping to the United States.

Breeding of Rani continued and she produced a total of 20 white cubs.

19th December 1969: Mohan died aged 19 years 7 months. All captive white tigers descend from Mohan, which explains why they are so genetically inbred.

 

Please!  Never pay to see or touch a white tiger.  You can protect tigers from such abuse by sharing and liking this page.

51 Comments

  1. White lions are a genetic mutation native to a certain population of African lions. That doesn't mean they need saving. The rest of their kin do just fine as long as humans don't bother them. However, white lions are not a hybrid or false population like white tigers are. Just terribly inbred. That is the fault of the human breeders who chose to do this.

  2. I agree whole heartedly, the original male is a naturally occuring genetic trait in the wild. If the zoos did not continually inbreed these tigers but outcrossed them to unrelated orange tigers then in 7 generations they would be classed as unrelated. I have breed birds for over 20 years and the genetics is still the same as in tigers. It is the breeders who are to blame for a quick way to try to exploit these beautiful animals.

  3. Kept me from having to post.

    Thanks for that.

  4. His name is Kenny Rogers he passed away about 5 yrs ago of cancer. He lived at http://www.turpentinecreek.org/ as does his mother Loretta Lynn and his brother Wille Nelson. His brother Willie has a mild form of deformations and retained his orange and black stripes. Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge rescues tigers from owners and breeders.

  5. I'm not arguing the facts about white tigers… But according to this site white lions are a breed that needs saving. They reintroduced a pride into the wild. http://whitelions.org/

  6. Very sad..never knew tge story always thought they were just naturally that way..i guess no

  7. I dislike the fact that sisters and brothers, mothers and sons, fathers and daughters; are bred just to get this new type of Tiger… Yes, White Tigers are rare- but I find it quite wrong to breed related animals; it's like for humans too. It causes problems for the litter that is born, either blindness, deaf or other issues; such as creating a rare blood type.

    But, White Tigers are beautiful creatures- so people continue to breed them. The lovely lush white fur, brown lines and gorgeous bright blue eyes are all too much to miss out for humans.

    If only the White Tiger already existed like the Begum Tiger- it wouldn't be such an issue. I would find it impossible for a White Tiger to appear in the wild without the interruption of Humans.

    I'm not an expect or anything, but once a litter of cubs are born and grown; the male cubs are driven out to find their own mate and land, as for the females they can go when they please; but once the mother comes back into heat, the daughters must also leave because mum's attention has to be shared now and because they are grown up, she has to think of her self and her new unborn litter to care for, rather than her grown up cubs that can defend for themselves… Therefore it is pretty much impossible for the son and mother to mate. Daughter and father are more likely but not, because by the time the Mother has had her litter, the father of that litter would of mated several times with several different females and have a lot of litter coming his way- he would be able to identify his own daughter, even as grown; because once a cub crosses the path with an adult male or female tiger {except the mother} they could be killed… he parent knows the cubs scent either from it's mother, or as it's own because it comes from his genes.

    However, of course a mother can kill her own young; either from bothering her too much for milk, for food, being too loud, distracting her from a kill- or accidentally rolling over and squashing her cubs. But, the father may also mistake the cub for a meal, not as his own {from smelling a different male scent on the cub, which the mother probably mated with another male along with him so the cubs would be save in both their eyes, as they'd think the cubs are both their own} or just from annoying him too much also.

  8. Power and greed, truly the biggest human problem. A white animal be it either a big cat or a buffalo is a sacred anomaly and rate. They do exist and can happen without inbreeding or genetic mutation. Human beings have learn to stop this ridiculousness behavior. No one should go to the zoo that does this. If we hit them in the pocket maybe they will learn.

  9. I have seen on Nat Geo White Tiger Cubs born from a Orange Tiger mom. This occurred several times with & mix of both colored cubs form the same Mom. This was in the wild. But I do not like the inbreeding at zoos.

    • I have also personally seen this and also seen white lions born from regular colored ones.

    • This is, of course, possible. The gene for the white coloration does exist in the wild and wild-type individuals can be carriers, as it is a recessive gene. If two such individuals mate, it is entirely possible for white cubs to be born. That said, those cubs will be at a disvantage, and rarely, if ever, reach adulthood.

  10. We have white Tigers and Lions at West midland Safari Park, are they bread the same way? It is not normal, they may look pretty but it is not fare.