Meet Kenny, a captive-bred aka “bred by incest” white tiger.
This is the real face of the captive-bred white tiger, one of those that survives the high mortality rate, and among the commonly deformed captive-bred whiter tiger that gets shunted aside in favour of the “normal looking” white tiger.
Who made Kenny? Who made the “Royal White Tiger” and claimed it is an endangered species when it is in fact a product not of Nature, but a man-made concept called captive-breeding and genetic manipulation?
Will the REAL “Royal White Tiger” species please stand up?
As discussed on our White Tiger Fraud post:
Isn’t the White Tiger an endangered species in need of saving, conservation?Consider, the tiger genus has 8 sub-species spread over Asia, 3 of which are extinct. But whether still struggling for survival or gone the way of the dodo, the white tiger is NOT one of these sub-species.
Instead the white tiger is a mutant. It was first noted in the bengal tiger, and in the wild only 1 in 10,000 tiger cubs is born white.
There are only, in total, 2,000 to 6,000 tigers (estimated) surviving in the wild now. Of these, only 2000-3000 are bengal tigers.
You do the math: where did the captive white tiger population, numbering hundreds, in zoos, circus and private collections around the world come from??
So, what is the “captive white tiger breeding programme” but a fraud?
Where be the defective White Tigers?
For every handsome white tiger being exploited to earn tourist/customer moola, there may be anything from 60 to a few hundreds “defective” white tigers that the public do not see – some are stillborn, some suffer delibilating birth defects throughout their lives – blindness, deafness, cross-eyes, hip/leg deformities etc, most don’t live long and die early. What happens to the “defective” white tigers who do not die young from illnesses?
And remember, selective breeding is still a chancy thing. There’s no guarantee you’ll get white tiger babies every single time. So what happens to the non-white tiger babies? Abandoned, killed, abused, tortured… just like the kittens and puppies of kitten and puppy mills. Some are sold to the chinese medicine trade.
Conservation cannot be about exploitation or glamour, or romantic ideals
Putting aside the sheer waste of life, the tiger is afterall a highly endangered species, the conduct of captive white tiger breeders and the zoos/people who support them are equally despicable.
But the people who pay to see the White Tiger, they are the ones who perpetuate this cruelty, this greed-driven marketing machine.
If there is no demand, there will be no supply is the common refrain. So if people will look beyond the enchanting allure of the White Tiger Conservation movement, and ask zoos how this fits into the more vital TIGER conservation, then maybe there is hope for the true tiger conservation effort. Because, given all the facts, white tiger conservation cannot be discussed outside the context of tiger conservation per se.
Below is a list of tiger reference sites that demonstrates the Tiger Crisis. The crisis is deep and immediate, but for the white tiger aficionado, ask yourself this: Where does the “White Tiger species” figure all this? How can I, the white tiger fan help?
References and links
Tiger information and conservation sites (“white tiger conservation” DOESN’T COUNT!). To save the tiger, know about the tiger and take action.
- The Sumatran Tiger trust
- Tigers in Crisis
- Current status of tigers in India by the Wildlife Protection Society of India. More Indian tiger info by WPSI here.
- Sundarbans Tiger Project
- The South China Tiger Project
- Bengal Tigers:
- From the Save the Tigers site:
“Captive breeding: Indian zoos have bred tigers since 1880, the first time being at the Alipore Zoo in Calcutta. In the last two decades they have bred so successfully that there are now too many. Unfortunately other subspecies of tigers brought by dealers from outside India over the years have been mixed with Indian tigers, so that many zoo tigers are of questionable lineage and therefore not appropriate for conservation purposes.” … more.
- Endangered! (from the American Museum of Natural History)
- From the Save the Tigers site:
- Indochinese tiger. Like the tigers in China, tigers in Vietnam are facing issues. Check these two related news items out
- Tigers in the eye of Vietnam conservation storm (29 Mar 07)
- Vietnam PM approves disputed tiger farms (6 Apr 07)
- Save China’s tigers. There are only 10-30 of the native South China tiger left in the wild. And yet, look at the continued abuse and exploitation of tigers!
- Saving tigers.
- Myanmar National Tiger Action Plan
- Siberian Tiger Project
- Sumatran Tiger Conservation
- The Status of Tiger, Prey and Human Tiger Conflict in Lao PDR
- Tigers Get a Business Plan
- A Snapshot of Survival for Malayan Tigers (the newly added 9th known tiger subspecies)
- Tigris Foundation. For the conservation of the Amur/Siberian tiger and leopard.
- IndianJungles.com. Has a tiger region in the middle. Well worth a look or three.
- Save the Tiger Fund
What is Kenny’s story?
Kenny and his buddy, Willie, are two of the very very few lucky “defective” white tigers/attempts at white tiger breeding who are alive despite their deformities and shortcomings.
This is Kenny’s story (emphasis mine)
Although Kenny and Willie have only been a part of the TCWR family since October of 2000, they are quickly becoming favorite members. Both of these unfortunate souls came to us from a breeding facility for white Bengal tigers, and both have what appear to be genetic deformities.
Kenny (a.k.a. Kenny Rogers) was born on February 3, 1999, and has a deformed nose and ‘snaggle teeth,’ giving him a fearsome and, at the same time, heartrending appearance. When I first saw Kenny he was a forlorn looking bundle of dirty white and brown fur, with pale blue eyes set in a Halloween mask face. As repelled as I was by his appearance, I could not help but be touched by his plight. His still present temporary canine teeth compete with his permanent canine teeth for space in his mouth, which cannot completely close because of this deformity, causing him to constantly drool and slobber. At the same time his pug nose is pushed into his face and does not allow him to breath properly. I overheard one visitor uncharitably refer to him as a deformed bull.
… … …
Kenny’s buddy and cage partner, Willie (nicknamed Willie Nelson), was born on April 4, 1998, and has severely crossed eyes. Except for this deformity, Willie is a beautiful male tiger with a long, lithe body and complete feline grace. He adjusted a bit more slowly to his new home than Kenny, and it took him a little longer to become the friendly animal he is today. As with Kenny, he was probably not wanted at the breeding facility because of his deformity and also, perhaps, because of his orange fur. I find it a sad commentary that such a wonderful animal would be discarded because his fur was the wrong color.
(The full story about Kenny and Willie here. However, please also note the comments here about Kenny’s home, particularly the 4th comment by Tony M.)
The plight of Kenny and Willie, and others like them may seem surreal. Perhaps it is understandable that some people deem the deformed White Tiger as figments of imagination, or perhaps tales right out of the twilight zone. But when even the very respected New York Times carry a story about him, there can no be doubt to all but the most insular, that the deformed White Tiger is a reality wrought by human hands.
White Tiger Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, Eureka Springs, Arkansas: In the United States, all living white tigers are the result of selective inbreeding to artificially create the genetic conditions that lead to white fur, ice-blue eyes and a pink nose. Kenny was born in the care of a breeder in Bentonville, Arkansas, on Feb. 3, 1999. As a result of inbreeding, Kenny is mentally retarded.
(Photo and text by Taryn Simon from her “American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar” series, as exerpted from New York Times Magazine, published 17 December, 2006)
Why or how did this happen? How can anyone allow such things to go on? Isn’t there any law against it?
White Tigers- The Cruelty Behind the Magic
This is a 5 min video, a great summary of all that is beautiful AND wrong with the captive white tiger breeding programme being perpetuated by zoos, circuses, exhibitors, breeders and exotic pet festishers. A fraud that seemed to have started in America and is now found even here, in Singapore, at the valuted Singapore Zoological Gardens. (This video was made by a 16 year old girl, but I’m not her. She has a youtube account with more information too. This is her account: http://youtube.com/user/CrackleCaracal.)
[EDIT 20071122: The vid is no longer accessible on youtube. CrackleCaracal is in the process of moving her vids to another site – veoh. She also maintains a website at http://www.freewebs.com/cracklecaracal/]
The White Tiger Fraud
This wikipedia page gives a very good accounting of the white tiger bloodlines in existence, with emphasis on those in India. However, it is no less disturbing to read so frequently in the article that daughter was mated to father, cousins to uncles, grandparents to grandchildren, just to sate the world’s demand for white tigers.
Ask yourself now: Is the White Tiger endangered or exploited? you will find the answer easily: there is no room for doubt that the captive white tiger breeding/conservation program a fraud.
More White Tiger Resources
- The History Of The White Tigers of Rewa
- White Tigers
- The White Tigers of Rewa
- Breeders have over-exploited their appeal
- This is a White Tiger
- Other exotica breeding and abuse: Detailed information on tiger coloration, Hybrid and Mutant Big Cats
For the cats,
Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL 33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457
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