White Tigers and Ligers
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
To see a 5 minute video clip about the rescue of the white tiger on this page, some baby cubs and others click HERE. Click to see the video called White Tiger Myth Buster.
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
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.
Carole Baskin, Founder Big Cat Rescue