Zabu

Zabu

hear big cats

Zabu

White Female Siberian/Bengal Hybrid

DOB 5/15/00

Rescued 5/3/04

Zabu-White-Tiger

 

 

 

Zabu was born at a circus and roadside zoo in New England that has since closed.

Zabu was raised and housed with Cameron, a male lion, neither of which were spayed or neutered. Leaving these two intact cats together could have had grotesque consequences resulting in the birth of ligers. These genetically mutated cross-breeds are victim to a plethora of birth defects that plague the animal its entire life. These freakish hybrids have become popular, though this is not an animal that would even exist in the wild.

It is important that people understand that by refusing to visit venues with these animals on display, this type of animal abuse can be stopped. White tigers also do not exist in the wild. They can neither hide from attack nor sneak on prey. Man has created the glut of white tigers in captivity today through rampant inbreeding.

Because white tigers are all so deeply inbred, they all carry genetic flaws. Zabu is no exception. She has a shortened upper lip leaving her teeth exposed and unprotected. For every white tiger you may see in captivity, many normal colored tigers have died. Since public demand for the white tiger has driven up prices for them, more and more are being bred. Those that are born “the wrong color” are discarded in various horrific ways.

When Zabu and Cameron were rescued we constructed a large natural enclosure for the two of them to share since they are truly bonded as a couple. Cameron received a vasectomy shortly after his arrival to prevent any cubs from being produced. The two lived together happily for years, however, when Zabu would go into heat Cameron would become possessive over her and aggressive towards keepers. Zabu was spayed in order to curb this behavior which was successful for a few more years.

Cameron reverted to his previous behavior and the decision was made to neuter him, which would mean he would lose his beautiful mane. The loss was merely cosmetic and well worth the price to keep this loving pair together.

While Cameron tries to sleep most of the day away (as lions do in the wild), Zabu is extremely energetic and is always pestering him to play. She’ll often give up on him and just run and jump and play with her big red ball or splash endlessly in her pool. Of course, that’s after she’s tired of playfully stalking her keepers or trying to spray the groups of visitors that stop by.

 

Sponsor Zabu http://big-cat-rescue.myshopify.com/collections/sponsor-a-cat

 

 

 

 

Carole’s Presentation to Volunteers About White Tigers

 

I’ve been working in the area by Zabu for the past several days and have had the pleasure of hearing tour guides talking about the white tiger issue.  I have heard the amazement in the voices of the guests as they learned that every thing they thought knew about white tigers was wrong.

I have heard guests try to argue the facts or ignore the new information by proclaiming that they still think white tigers are beautiful.  It has given me a new appreciation for what all of you go through when giving tours.  It especially impresses me that some of you, who are still so new to the knowledge yourselves, manage to be firm in your presentations while still being kind to the guests.

This week a thirty year old secret was exposed in Newsweek, the second largest weekly magazine in America. Sharyn Beach exposed it in Britannica Online Encyclopedia in March of this year.  It is the same secret that Big Cat Rescue exposed 11 years ago as the first organization to go public with the truth about the white tiger.

What I knew in 1998 was that people could sell a white tiger cub for $60,000 and just about all of the breeders and dealers and zoos were out to breed them.  I had been to facilities such as the one where Shere Khan was born, and where Modnic, TJ & Bella came from and where Auroara had come from.  What I saw haunted me because I saw many tigers who had horrible deformities;  teeth going in all directions, eyes out on the nose, clubbed feet and lame hips.

These birth defects were primarily in the white tigers, but some of their golden litter mates were affected as well.  I started asking about who the tigers’ parents were, who their siblings were, and discovered that people were inbreeding these cats.  They never used that word, but rather would say “line breeding” or “selective breeding” or they would make outrageous claims about how they had “created” a line of white tigers by choosing the best pairings. In 1998 there were only 200 white tigers world wide.  With Siegfried and Roy promoting white tigers as Royal White Bengal tigers the breeders scurried to meet demand.

Especially complicit were the Cincinnati Zoo & the Nashville Zoo who knew that the origins of white tigers only came from severe inbreeding.  It was common knowledge to breeders that there was an 80% mortality rate.  They should have put an end to it right then and there, but white tigers were a novelty and people would pay to see them.  The accredited zoos, who actually keep pedigrees on their tigers, knew that inbreeding was the only way to increase their probability of getting that money making white cub.

In 1998 I still thought that most of the breeders and dealers out there were just ignorant.  I was a member of AZA and had been attending their conferences and meeting their cat experts to find out what they thought to be best practices.  I thought that if the private sector knew better they would behave better and so I spent a lot of time writing articles for their club called the Feline Conservation Federation.  I was part of their list serve and participated in discussions about exotic cat husbandry in the hopes of helping their cats have better lives.  We had only had the Internet for a couple of years and were still trying to find ways to use it to band all exotic cat owners together for a comprehensive repository of information on best practices.  Our own website had only been up for two years and I was using it as a way of making all of the lessons we had learned available for everyone else.  I figured the reason all of these breeders had so many defective tigers was because they didn’t know that they were all so inbred and they were just making it worse by not keeping records.

Zabu-White-Tiger-

I proposed all of what I knew about white tigers on our website and suggested that we create a registry of all of the cats in the private sector, along with micro chipping, to make sure that no more cats suffered from such terrible birth defects.  I quickly learned that the people making money off the white tigers knew what they were doing and ignored the agony they were inflicting.

About a year later a veterinarian wrote to me after finding our white tiger page on the Internet.  He said that we were the only people telling the truth and that he had the full story because he had been the veterinarian for the Las Vegas duo for many years, as well as the vet for several large zoos.  He had worked with 250 tigers.  He spent 20 years documenting the origins and malpractice involved in breeding white tigers and had never found a way to make his findings publicly known.  The zoos didn’t want anyone to know.  Dr. Dan Laughlin and I spent hours on the phone pouring over the documents he had sent me to convince me of his credentials and his findings.

Zabu-White-Tiger-

We launched his letter on our website which culminated in his statement,

“…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…”

We also quoted Ron Tilson, the head of the tiger species survival plan who said,

“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…”

“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.”

Our tour guides began sharing this information with our visitors.  We began writing letters to USDA, state wildlife agencies and to the media to raise awareness about the horrific practice of inbreeding to get white tigers.

The breeders, dealers, zoos and circus acts who were profiting from white tigers saw us as public enemy number one.  There was no way they could prove the outrageous stories they were promoting about how these cats came from hidden islands, or were the product of their animal husbandry genius.  If anyone looked beyond the image in front of them, they would find out the truth and that would mean the end of their profits.  White tiger sales began to plummet, both from the over abundance of animals born and because more people were becoming aware of the inbreeding.  I have seen white tiger cubs selling for as little as $1000.00.  I have lost track of the number of adults who were offered to us for free and sometimes people even offering to pay us to take them so they could make space for more cubs.

Zabu the White Tiger

Zabu the White Tiger

The people who went from making $60,000 for a white cub to only $1000 for a white cub have no excuse for what they do.  The only thing they can do is to try and discredit us.  That is why they are always attacking us, and me in particular.

The breeders and dealers seem to spend all their time talking trash about me.  Little do they realize that it is actually helping us show the world what kind of person would breed white tigers.

Thanks to the pressure that Big Cat Rescuers have kept on them, the AZA came out with a policy statement against breeding white tigers fairly recently, even though they do not yet enforce it strongly.

It is so exciting to me to see that we have persevered through more than a decade of trying to get the world to see that breeding white tigers (especially) is cruel and unconscionable.  To see Britannica and Newsweek running stories that tell the truth is a HUGE win!  This was the headline caption for the Newsweek story this past week, “Bred for profit, the animals are often cruelly deformed by inbreeding.”  The only reason the truth is being exposed is because of you.  No one else was willing to take on the Goliath of zoos, circuses and Las Vegas.  The day is coming when no more tigers will be purposely inbred to create a freak for the paying public.  That day is coming because Big Cat Rescuers won’t give up until it does.

See More About Zabu, the White Tigress:

See Chris & Gale setting up Piñatas for Cameron and Nikita the lions and Zabu the white tiger in this Wildcat Walkabout Video on April 25, 2014 – http://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-april-25-2014/

2016 July

 

Why White Tigers Should Go Extinct

Everything you’ve been told about this exotic, royal, endangered species is wrong.

By |Posted Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, at 11:04 AM

white tiger

A white tiger is a striking creature. Tigers are always impressive animals, but when you take away the orange, the result is a big cat that looks like a phantom out of a dream. They seem almost magical, and yet I firmly believe that the world would be a better place if there was not a single white tiger in it.

 

There are only about 4,000 tigers, at most, remaining in the wild. Yet there are probably tens of thousands of captive tigers around the world (there is no official census). This would appear to make a compelling case for the existence of zoos and private collections. If tigers can survive and breed well in captivity, then perhaps more can be introduced to the wild when safe habitat becomes available. Yet that system isn’t working the way we think it does. A huge number of the captive tigers are hybrids of various subspecies and are so inbred that they will never be suitable for reintroduction to the wild. No tigers are more emblematic of this problem than white tigers.

 

I recently asked friends on Facebook to write down their thoughts about white tigers without searching for any new information. Some very intelligent people were under the impression that white tigers are a variety of Siberian tiger, camouflaged for a snowy climate. Others applauded zoos with white tigers for supporting conservation of white tigers while lamenting a lag in reintroduction efforts. Only one out of 27 respondents knew that white tigers are not a subspecies at all but rather the result of a mutant gene that has been artificially selected through massive inbreeding to produce oddball animals for human entertainment.

 

This level of misinformation should not come as a surprise. Many of the venues that display white tigers have a long history of shading the truth about their mutants. The Cincinnati Zoo, an otherwise respectable institution, labels their white tigers as a “species at risk!” Nowhere on the zoo’s website or at its tiger enclosures does it point out that this species at risk is in fact an ecologically useless hybrid of Bengal and Siberian strains, inbred at the zoo’s own facility for big money. The Cincinnati Zoo repeatedly bred closely related animals over the past few decades to produce more of the white tigers, which they sold for around $60,000 each.

 

One of the Cincinnati Zoo’s biggest sales was to the illusionists Siegfried and Roy. The Vegas duo bought three white tigers from the zoo in the early 1980s (along with stock from other sources) and quickly set up their own breeding program. Incorporating the white tigers into their act, Siegfried and Roy introduced the breed to millions of Americans. They referred to the cats as “royal white tigers” and, out of what was probably a good intention, gave the public the impression that this was an endangered species that they were helping to protect. Their famous Las Vegas show ended in 2003 when Roy Horn was mauled on stage in front of a horrified audience by one of his own white tigers. To date, Siegfried and Roy continue to claim on their website that their white tiger breeding program is part of a conservation effort aimed at saving “an endangered species.”

 

White tigers are white because they have two copies of an extremely rare recessive gene found in Bengal tigers (the gene has never been seen among pure Siberians or other subspecies). A very few white tigers were seen in the wild in the early 20th century. On the face of it, being a white object in the Bengal tigers’ tropical habitat of India and Southeast Asia can’t be good for a predator that needs to be camouflaged.

 

Other, more subtle problems that go along with the white coat would also prevent white tigers from ever becoming established as a wild population. The mutation (which is not albinism—white tigers can still produce melanin) also causes serious defects. White tigers in captivity tend to have problems with the way that their brains control their eyes and process visual stimulation. The animals are often cross-eyed in one or both eyes, bump into objects, and have trouble understanding spatial relationships when they are young. Animals with defects like these couldn’t survive for long in the wild, even though they have long lives in captivity. Other disorders, such as kidney problems, club feet, and shortened tendons, come from the severe inbreeding required to keep this recessive gene around.

 

Not all of the cubs produced in white tiger breeding schemes are white. Inbred, hybridized tiger cubs with an assortment of health problems aren’t good for much of anything except roadside attractions. Some are kept in hopes that they carry a copy of the white tiger gene that could be expressed in offspring. Carole Baskin, director of Big Cat Rescue, has taken in some breeding-project duds, including a cross-eyed white tiger born without an upper lip.

 

Every white tiger in a zoo is occupying an enclosure and a budget for food and veterinary care that could be used as part of a legitimate breeding program to protect the genetic diversity of endangered subspecies of tigers. There are fewer than 700 Sumatran tigers left on the planet, in captivity or in the wild. The Siberian tiger numbers no more than 1,000, at best. The survival of both subspecies is in jeopardy due to both habitat loss and a looming genetic bottleneck. We could safeguard the genetic diversity of both types of tigers with the cooperation of zoos and perhaps maintain them in captivity until the political issues that threaten their habitat can be alleviated. Some zoos, such as the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and the Minnesota Zoo, do this now as part of a broad species-protection plan. But every zoo that devotes an enclosure to white tigers under the cover of a lie about conservation represents one more place where a legitimately endangered tiger could be kept.

 

In 2011, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums banned member zoos from breeding white tigers, lions, and cheetahs (PDF). This ban should prevent top-tier zoos from continuing to breed white tigers, and the Cincinnati Zoo has recently stopped selling white tigers. But it doesn’t prevent member zoos from continuing to display the animals. And as long as there is demand, those top-tier zoos may still obtain white tigers from other sources. Meanwhile, the white-washing of white tigers by major institutions helps maintain not only ticket revenue from a misled public but also misguided support for the rescue of a nonexistent endangered species.

 

As William Conway, former director of the New York Zoological Association put it many years ago, “White tigers are freaks. It’s not the role of a zoo to show two headed calves and white tigers.”

 

A white tiger that has already been born does not have a vote in the matter and cannot apologize for existing. Humanity has a collective responsibility to care for the two-headed calves and white tigers that we create for our own entertainment, but do we really need to be creating more of the genetic disasters that pull resources away from truly endangered species? There is no good reason to breed another white tiger. We can choose to keep every remaining white tiger in comfortable isolation. Tigers are solitary in the wild (unlike lions, which are social animals that normally live in prides). They do not need the company of other tigers in order to lead happy lives either in the wild or in captivity. We can choose a future in which white tigers disappear into memory and hopefully one in which truly endangered subspecies of tigers maintain enough genetic diversity to be successfully reintroduced into a wild that can sustain them.

 

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2012/12/white_tiger_controversy_zoos_shouldn_t_raise_these_inbred_ecologically_irrelevant.html

Why White Tigers Should Go Extinct

 

Everything you’ve been told about this exotic, royal, endangered species is wrong

 

By Jackson Landers|Posted Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, at 11:04 AM ET

White tiger from the Cincinnati Zoo.

A white tiger from the Cincinnati Zoo.

 

Photo by Jim Larimore.

 

A white tiger is a striking creature. Tigers are always impressive animals, but when you take away the orange, the result is a big cat that looks like a phantom out of a dream. They seem almost magical, and yet I firmly believe that the world would be a better place if there was not a single white tiger in it.

 

There are only about 4,000 tigers, at most, remaining in the wild. Yet there are probably tens of thousands of captive tigers around the world (there is no official census). This would appear to make a compelling case for the existence of zoos and private collections. If tigers can survive and breed well in captivity, then perhaps more can be introduced to the wild when safe habitat becomes available. Yet that system isn’t working the way we think it does. A huge number of the captive tigers are hybrids of various subspecies and are so inbred that they will never be suitable for reintroduction to the wild. No tigers are more emblematic of this problem than white tigers.

 

I recently asked friends on Facebook to write down their thoughts about white tigers without searching for any new information. Some very intelligent people were under the impression that white tigers are a variety of Siberian tiger, camouflaged for a snowy climate. Others applauded zoos with white tigers for supporting conservation of white tigers while lamenting a lag in reintroduction efforts. Only one out of 27 respondents knew that white tigers are not a subspecies at all but rather the result of a mutant gene that has been artificially selected through massive inbreeding to produce oddball animals for human entertainment.

 

This level of misinformation should not come as a surprise. Many of the venues that display white tigers have a long history of shading the truth about their mutants. The Cincinnati Zoo, an otherwise respectable institution, labels their white tigers as a “species at risk!” Nowhere on the zoo’s website or at its tiger enclosures does it point out that this species at risk is in fact an ecologically useless hybrid of Bengal and Siberian strains, inbred at the zoo’s own facility for big money. The Cincinnati Zoo repeatedly bred closely related animals over the past few decades to produce more of the white tigers, which they sold for around $60,000 each.

 

One of the Cincinnati Zoo’s biggest sales was to the illusionists Siegfried and Roy. The Vegas duo bought three white tigers from the zoo in the early 1980s (along with stock from other sources) and quickly set up their own breeding program. Incorporating the white tigers into their act, Siegfried and Roy introduced the breed to millions of Americans. They referred to the cats as “royal white tigers” and, out of what was probably a good intention, gave the public the impression that this was an endangered species that they were helping to protect. Their famous Las Vegas show ended in 2003 when Roy Horn was mauled on stage in front of a horrified audience by one of his own white tigers. To date, Siegfried and Roy continue to claim on their website that their white tiger breeding program is part of a conservation effort aimed at saving “an endangered species.”

 

White tigers are white because they have two copies of an extremely rare recessive gene found in Bengal tigers (the gene has never been seen among pure Siberians or other subspecies). A very few white tigers were seen in the wild in the early 20th century. On the face of it, being a white object in the Bengal tigers’ tropical habitat of India and Southeast Asia can’t be good for a predator that needs to be camouflaged.

 

Other, more subtle problems that go along with the white coat would also prevent white tigers from ever becoming established as a wild population. The mutation (which is not albinism—white tigers can still produce melanin) also causes serious defects. White tigers in captivity tend to have problems with the way that their brains control their eyes and process visual stimulation. The animals are often cross-eyed in one or both eyes, bump into objects, and have trouble understanding spatial relationships when they are young. Animals with defects like these couldn’t survive for long in the wild, even though they have long lives in captivity. Other disorders, such as kidney problems, club feet, and shortened tendons, come from the severe inbreeding required to keep this recessive gene around.

 

Not all of the cubs produced in white tiger breeding schemes are white. Inbred, hybridized tiger cubs with an assortment of health problems aren’t good for much of anything except roadside attractions. Some are kept in hopes that they carry a copy of the white tiger gene that could be expressed in offspring. Carole Baskin, director of Big Cat Rescue, has taken in some breeding-project duds, including a cross-eyed white tiger born without an upper lip.

 

Every white tiger in a zoo is occupying an enclosure and a budget for food and veterinary care that could be used as part of a legitimate breeding program to protect the genetic diversity of endangered subspecies of tigers. There are fewer than 700 Sumatran tigers left on the planet, in captivity or in the wild. The Siberian tiger numbers no more than 1,000, at best. The survival of both subspecies is in jeopardy due to both habitat loss and a looming genetic bottleneck. We could safeguard the genetic diversity of both types of tigers with the cooperation of zoos and perhaps maintain them in captivity until the political issues that threaten their habitat can be alleviated. Some zoos, such as the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and the Minnesota Zoo, do this now as part of a broad species-protection plan. But every zoo that devotes an enclosure to white tigers under the cover of a lie about conservation represents one more place where a legitimately endangered tiger could be kept.

 

In 2011, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums banned member zoos from breeding white tigers, lions, and cheetahs (AZA Bans Breeding of White Tigers). This ban should prevent top-tier zoos from continuing to breed white tigers, and the Cincinnati Zoo has recently stopped selling white tigers. But it doesn’t prevent member zoos from continuing to display the animals. And as long as there is demand, those top-tier zoos may still obtain white tigers from other sources. Meanwhile, the white-washing of white tigers by major institutions helps maintain not only ticket revenue from a misled public but also misguided support for the rescue of a nonexistent endangered species.

 

As William Conway, former director of the New York Zoological Association put it many years ago, “White tigers are freaks. It’s not the role of a zoo to show two headed calves and white tigers.”

 

A white tiger that has already been born does not have a vote in the matter and cannot apologize for existing. Humanity has a collective responsibility to care for the two-headed calves and white tigers that we create for our own entertainment, but do we really need to be creating more of the genetic disasters that pull resources away from truly endangered species? There is no good reason to breed another white tiger. We can choose to keep every remaining white tiger in comfortable isolation. Tigers are solitary in the wild (unlike lions, which are social animals that normally live in prides). They do not need the company of other tigers in order to lead happy lives either in the wild or in captivity. We can choose a future in which white tigers disappear into memory and hopefully one in which truly endangered subspecies of tigers maintain enough genetic diversity to be successfully reintroduced into a wild that can sustain them.

 

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2012/12/

white_tiger_controversy_zoos_shouldn_t_raise_these_inbred_ecologically_irrelevant.2.html

 

Jackson Landers

 

Jackson Landers is the author of the new non-fiction book Eating Aliens. He recently spent a year and a half hunting and eating invasive species throughout North America. He can be reached at jack.landers@gmail.com.

 

The truth about white tigers

One such cyclops cat was documented in a book about Robert Baudy and Savage Kingdom. I have seen many horrible mutations myself but was not allow to photograph them for obvious reasons.

Everything you want and need to know about white tigers is here at Big Cat Rescue.

Just click on the Truth About White Tigers to see photos, videos, the scientific genetic history and what you can do to save the tigers you love.

Today at Big Cat Rescue AZA Says No More White Tigers or White Lions

Today at Big Cat Rescue AZA Says No More White Tigers or White Lions

Warned in 1983 AZA Finally Calls for an End to the

Practice of Breeding White Tigers and White Lions

 

Deformed white tigers are the norm in captive collections

Deformed white tigers are the norm in captive collections

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 here: http://bigcatrescue.org/abuse-issues/issues/white-tigers 

 

Because of the inbreeding and resulting genetic defects the American Zoological Association barred member zoos from breeding white tigers, white lions and king cheetahs in a white paper adopted by the board of directors in July 2011.

It is noteworthy that the first person to speak out against the displaying of white tigers was William Conway, director of the NY Zoological Association, which later became known as the Bronx zoo when he said, “White tigers are freaks. It’s not the role of a zoo to show two headed calves and white tigers.” He warned AZA in 1983 of the harm to the zoo’s credibility in catering to the public’s fascination with freaks, but went unheeded until 2008 when AZA issued a request to their members to stop breeding white tigers and then later in July 2011 when the AZA formally adopted that stance as policy. Conway was attacked by Ed Maruska of the Cincinnati Zoo and other zoos that were profiting by inbreeding tigers to get white coats, but in the end Conway’s belief was validated. Read the AZA Policy Against Breeding White Tigers, White Lions and King Cheetahs

 

Serval relaxing at Big Cat Rescue

Serval relaxing at Big Cat Rescue

Leopard sisters on platforms at Big Cat Rescue

Leopard sisters on platforms at Big Cat Rescue

Black leopard in high grass at Big Cat Rescue

Black leopard in high grass at Big Cat Rescue

Tiny black Geoffroy Cat at Big Cat Rescue

Tiny black Geoffroy Cat at Big Cat Rescue

White tigers are all inbred and cross bred and serve no conservation value

White tigers are all inbred and cross bred and serve no conservation value