In Support of The White Tiger: Facts and Fallacies
There are differences of opinion on White Tigers. Unfortunately much “info” put online and copied about is misleading, blatantly false, or opinion stated as fact. Sometimes facts true for a small set of circumstances or period of time get pic ed up and erroneously applied to a much !ider situation or timeframe. This report summari"es some facts and fallacies, !ith references that bac up and e#pand on !hat is stated. The opinions e#pressed in this report are based on information gathered from reputable sources $ mainly boo s, articles and %uotes from scientists and "oo&!ildlife professionals. Some %uotes and passages ha'e been transcribed for the reader(s con'enience. )nly the bare bones of the info is included $ the references !ill gi'e more details for those !ho !ant to read more. *lthough this report is clearly in support of !hite tigers, I emphasi"e that I do not condone inbreeding or any practice that compromises the !elfare of animals. +y intention is to sho! that neither are necessary in the breeding of !hite tigers, and that !hite tigers deser'e a place in our !orld. ,ontents: i. *bbre'iations ii. Updates -. )rigin of the White Tiger /. Frea or +utation 0 1. Sur'i'al in the Wild 2. 3#tinction in the Wild 4. White Tiger 5enetics and 6ines 7. 8reeding and Inbreeding 9. :ealth of White Tigers . arose naturally in the wild over 100 years ago . natural mutation, part of genetic diversity . yes, they did, with proof . caused by man . there are several lines - inbreeding not necessary . it(s not a genetic deformity - genetic diversity . one size doesn’t fit all (zoos) - in captivity and wild . we don’t know it all

;. <ure Subspecies ' 5eneric Tigers =. *>* ?ecommendations and SS< -@. White Tigers *round the World --. ,onser'ation and 3'olution ,onclusion ?eferences ?ecommended ?eading

. the white tiger is worth preserving as part of the tiger’s genetic diversity

Araft . 6. Arummond Feb /@-1, Feb /@-2

i. *bbre'iations *>* $ *merican *ssociation of >oos and *%uariums i'f $ in 'itro fertili"ation sp $ species ssp $ subspecies SS< $ Species Sur'i'al <lan
ii. Updates Feb /@-1 $ original draft Feb /@-2 - describing the necessary role of mutation in genetic di'ersity and e'olution in section /. - including the results of the recent genetic study B17,19,1;C and it(s implications in sections /,4,7,9 and ,onclusion. - e#panding the contents page and references page.

3 - )rigin of the White Tiger
F*66*,D: The !hite tiger is a man.made breed started in -=4-. F*,T: The !hite tiger arose naturally in the !ild at least -@@ years ago. They !ere found notably in the ?e!a area of India, also recorded in *ssam, )rissa, <oona, 8ilaspur, ,ooch 8ehar, Eepal and else!here. B-2,-=C They are sometimes said to ha'e occurred only in the Indian 8engal ssp, but there are also reports of !hite tigers in other countries. B--,1-C B-@. White Tigers *round the WorldC There are se'eral reputable sources confirming do"ens of !hite tigers in the !ild in India o'er the -;=@(s to -=1@s $ hunting records, the Fournal of 8ombay Eatural :istory Society, 3< 5ee, ** Aunbar 8rander, and other authorsG..plus Fim ,orbett(s -=2@(s film of a fully.gro!n !hite tigress. B9,-1,-2,1-C ,onfirmed sightings go bac to -;/@, !hen one !as e#hibited at 3#eter 3#change, B-2,-;C but there are indications of !hite tigers much earlier than this. For e#ample, a painting from the * bar Eama c-47-*A, illustrating an actual e'ent, appears to depict / !hite tigers !ith / orange. B//C It is not currently possible to say e#actly !hen the !hite gene arose or ho! many tigers there !ere carrying it. ?ecords for the /@th century gi'e an indication, but records prior to this are s etchy. *s the !hite colour is due to a recessi'e gene, it is possible Hand probableI that in addition to !ild !hite tigers there !ere many more !ild orange tigers carrying the !hite gene.
BSee also 4. White Tiger 5enetics and 6inesC

*s the !hite tiger has been bred e#tensi'ely in capti'ity, it may be reasonable to say that as it is no!, it is a man.made breed. :o!e'er, the same can be said for all tiger ssp(s bred in capti'ity $ +an decides !hich tigers !ill get a chance to mateJ !hich tigers are important geneticallyJ tigers are not li'ing in their natural !ild habitat and are adapted to life in capti'ity instead. 3'en i'f and preser'ing sperm for use in future generations is condoned. B11C There is little natural selection at !or in capti'ity. This is not a criticism of the !or being done !ith Tiger SS<s $ their aim is to preser'e the genetic 'ariety in the tiger ssp. B11C KKKKKKKKKKKKK && KKKKKKKKKKKKKK
?eferences: B9,=,--,-1,-2,-;,-=,//,1-,11C ?ef 1- contains a detailed account of !hite tiger sightings in India. *nd a fe! %uotes: “+ohan !as by no means the first !hite mutant” B-2 LS p-7-C “)ne of the earliest records of a !hite tiger !as of a specimen e#hibited at 3#eter ,hange in -;/@. White tigers !ere reported from 8urma and the Fynteah hills of +eghalaya by <olloc H-=@@I. )ther authentic records tell of the shooting of !hite tigers from -;=/ to -=// in <oona, Upper *ssam, )rissa, 8ilaspur and ,ooch 8ehar. In the -=/@s and M1@s se'eral !ere illed in 'arious districts, and -4 !hite tigers !ere shot in 8ihar alone. Some of these trophies are e#hibited in ,alcutta +useum and at +ica camp, Tisri, in 8ihar. )n // Fan -=1= a !hite tiger !as illed by the <rime +inister of Eepal at 8arda camp in Terai Eepal”. B-2 LS p-41C “*lthough neither blac nor !hite 6ions appear to ha'e been recorded, both these colour.'ariations ha'e been obser'ed in the Tiger.Ga pale !hitish specimen, in !hich the stripes !ere 'ery opa%ue and only 'isible in certain lights, !as e#hibited ali'e many years ago at 3#eter M,hange, and has been figured in 5riffith(s “*nimal Lingdom”. *nother nearly !hite specimen, from Eorthern India, is recorded by +r :o!ard Saunders in the <roceedings of the >oological Society for -;=-.” B6yde er “,ats” Tiger chapter p4@C “*.*. Aunbar 8rander !rote in NWild *nimals In ,entral IndiaN H-=/1I: NWhite tigers occasionally occur. There is a regular breed of these animals in the neighborhood of *mar anta at the Ounction of the ?e!a state and the +andla and 8ilaspur districts. When I !as last in +andla in -=-=, a !hite tigress and t!o three parts gro!n !hite cubs e#isted.” BWhite Tiger ?eportC “In an article in the 8ombay Eatural :istory SocietyG3 < 5ee H-=4=I records no less than 14, !ith comments of unrecorded numbers occurring in *ssam. ?o!land !ard(s ?ecords of 8ig 5ame also records a number of !hite tigers. +any of these animals !ere collected as adults, !hich indicates sur'i'ability” $ 3d!ard +arus a B9C

4 /. Frea or +utation 0
F*66*,D: White tigers are abnormal frea s F*,T: White tigers are a natural mutation “The origin of the !hite tigers is assumed to be the result of gene mutation. * gene for orange coat colour in a tiger mutated to one for !hite colour in the past. This mutant gene must ha'e gradually spread among some tigers in the forests through interbreedingP. If t!o tigers each ha'ing a mutant gene mate, one in four cubs is li ely to be !hite.” . *.L. ?oychoudhery B-=C What is a mutation 0 Is it a /.headed calf or 4.legged sheep 0 Eo. +utation is a natural occurance, a significant change in genetic material. B9C 3'olution depends on mutation. “+utations are changes in the genetic se%uence, and they are a main cause of di'ersity among organisms Gmutation is one of the fundamental forces of e'olution” B14C When a species has been through a genetic bottlenec , eg the cheetah, !ith a period of inbreeding in the !ild and reduced genetic di'ersity, that di'ersity can slo!ly reco'er o'er time through mutation. * recent study has pinpointed the mutation to “a change in a single amino acid H*299QI in one pigmentation.related gene HS6,24*/IG.mutations in the same pigmentation.related gene HS6,24*/I causes light s in colour in modern 3uropeans, as !ell. +utations in the same gene causes s in lightening in some mouse, horse, and chic en, the scientists point out.” B17,19C “They dismiss the notion that !hite tiger trait is a genetic deformity. That matured !hite tiger adults ha'e been sighted in the !ild negates this notion. Aespite its lo! fre%uency, they emphasise that the mutation is a naturally occurring one and should be considered as a “part of genetic di'ersity of tigers that is !orth conser'ing.” B17C It is not currently possible to state !hen and !here this mutation arose in the tiger $ it could ha'e been -=@ years ago Has per recent historical recordsI, or 24@ years ago as per the * barnama, or e'en long before. *lthough paleobiologists can tell a great deal about prehistoric tigers from their bones, they cannot differentiate bet!een coat colours. B/2C B--.,onser'ation and 3'olutionC KKKKKKKKKKKKKKK && KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK
?efs: B9,=,-=,/2,14,17,19C PEote: interbreeding Hmi#ing different breedsI is not the same as inbreeding Hbreeding close relati'esI. Ruote: “This mutation or colour phase of the tiger does not ha'e the same appeal among all "oo directors..GWilliam ,on!ay, 5eneral Airector of the Ee! Dor >oological Society, stating his concerns for the capti'e space being utili"ed by !hite tigers that might other!ise be used for other tiger subspecies, made reference to !hite tigers as frea sG. T!o.headed cal'es and !hite tigers.”. *lthough the comment ma es for interesting prose, his approach is not sound biology” $ 3d!ard F. +arus a, ,incinnati >oo.

5 1. Sur'i'al in the Wild
F*66*,D: White tigers can(t sur'i'e in the !ild . !ith no camouflage they can(t catch their prey. F*,T: White tigers can, and did sur'i'e to adulthood in the !ild and reproduce . as e'idenced by hunting records, eye.!itnesses, and ,orbett(s film. Bsee -. )rigin of White Tigers for refsC. :o! and !hy 0 The ans!er may be that their prey do not see in colour as !e do. *lso, tigers tend to be acti'e at night B-7C and a !hite tiger still has the stripes to brea up its body appearance Hthis is camouflageI. B9C Tigers li'e in a 'ariety of conditions and ha'e e'en been found up to 2@@@m in the :imalayas. B/-C * !hite tiger may be !ell.camouflaged in such en'ironments Heg pale roc y slopes, ri'ersides etcI. The !hite gene may confer ad'antages, eg !hite tigers tend to be larger and hea'ier, as do the orange tigers carrying the !hite gene. B9,-2,-=C The more 'aried a species gene pool the better a species( chance of sur'i'al, B9C and eeping this gene in the pool may be one of Eature(s “insurance policies” against changing en'ironmental conditions. Heg larger body si"e is an ad'antage for conser'ing body heat in colder climatesI. The !hite tiger may e'en be more suited to life in an en'ironment changed by man, as man encroaches on and destroys the Oungle habitat. )ne intriguing report from India in -=/2 described ho! one !hite tiger appeared to use it(s colour to ad'antage amongst herds of cattle. Bsee %uote belo!C Eote: It has also been asserted that the !hite lion could not sur'i'e in the !ild due to its colour but this has also been demonstrated to be untrue, by the 5lobal White 6ion <rotection Trust. B/1C KKKKKKKKKKKKKKK && KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK
?eferences B9,-2,-7,-=,/-,/1C Ruote from 5W6<T: “:ere the lions are pro'ing on a daily basis that they are the !orld(s ape# predator, and their hunting s ills are
not compromised in any !ay by their radiant !hite coats. “ B/1C

“White Tiger is Lilled In India”, The 3'ening Independent, Fun = -=/2 “,alcutta, Fune =. Sportsmen all o'er India are greatly interested in the s in of a !hite tiger recently shot by the +aharaOa of SirguOa and !hich is no! on display here. 3#cept for a fe! dar ed stripings the pelt is almost pure !hite and measures nine feet eight inches from nose to tail tip. The !hite tiger is e#tremely rare, but fe! specimens e'er ha'ing been secured, and this one is reported to ha'e had a career of depredation that included three human 'ictims and innumerable cattle. *ccording to reports from the district in !hich it !as illed, the beast actually appeared to use its unusual coloration as an aid to hunting. It !as continually mista en for a steer or co! as it lay %uietly among the herds !aiting a chance to ill, and the nati'es assert that it mi#ed freely !ith the herds !ithout e#citing alarm. Three instances are related of the tiger ha'ing been seen lying %uietly in the Oungle and being mista en by nati'es for a beast it had slain and in each of these cases !hen the nati'e approached, he !as illed. “

6 2. 3#tinction in the Wild
F*66*,D: The !hite tiger died out naturally in the !ild. F*,T: +an(s actions made it impossible for them to sur'i'e. White tigers are assumed e#tinct in the !ild from -=4;. B-2C Simple arithmetic sho!s that this is a conse%uence of the drastic decrease in o'erall tiger numbers Hcaused by manI. The tiger population, appro# -@@,@@@P in -=@@, has plummeted to appro# 1@@@ today, due to hea'y hunting Hfor many years tigers !ere considered 'ermin and bounties !ere paidI, habitat and prey loss, and poaching $ all caused by man. The !hite tiger !as rare, estimated as only - born in -@,@@@P. These figures !ould indicate appro# -@ !ild !hite tigers in -=@@ Hie -@&-@@,@@@I, do!n to "ero born today Hie @.1 out of 1,@@@I. 3'en 5ee(s -=7@(s estimate of 2@@@ tigers in India !ould not statistically allo! for the birth of any !hite tigers in the !ild bac then. It is possible Hbut un no!nI that some !ild orange tigers may still carry the !hite gene. The !hite tiger sur'i'ed and reproduced in the !ild for o'er -@@ years, probably much longer. B-. )rigin of the White TigerC It is not no!n if the occurrence of the !hite gene in the !ild !as increasing or decreasing. Increased reports around the turn of the /@th century may ha'e been due to lac of no!ledge or records ept prior to that. KKKKKKKKKKKK && KKKKKKKKKKKKKK
?eferences: B-2C P Eote: The figures of -@@,@@@ tigers in -=@@, and the - in -@,@@@ tigers are !idely %uoted. I ha'e not found the original sources, but ha'e not seen any info to dispute these either. 3< 5ee estimated 2@,@@@ tigers in India alone around the turn of the century, do!n to 2,@@@ in -=72. Lailash San hala(s -=9/ census indicated /9@@ tigers in India. LS does gi'e e#amples of the type of decrease in certain areas that correlate !ith the total estimates: eg “In the forests of ?e!a, !here as late as -=/2 no less than -7/ tigers !ere shot in one year, only /- no! remain” Hie in -=9/I BLS p-91C.

7 4. White Tiger 5enetics and 6ines
F*66*,D: The )E6D !ay to produce !hite tigers is by inbreeding close family relati'es. F*,T: Their history and genetics pro'es this to be false. The !hite tiger is not a separate species or sub.species $ it is a colour 'ariation !ithin the 8engal tiger subspecies Hmaybe in others alsoI. It is not caused by albinism, but by a genetic change that bloc s the production of yello!&red pigmentation B17,19C BSee also /. Frea or +utation0C The !hite coat&blue eyes is caused by a recessi'e gene allele . !. The orange coat colour is dominant and designated W. Eote that “recessi'e” does not mean inferior or defecti'e, it merely indicates a gene that is mas ed !hen paired !ith it(s dominant allele. The gene alleles occur in pairs $ !! !ill produce a !hite tiger, !hile W! or WW produce orange tigers. The cub gets one gene from each of it(s parents, so if / !hite tigers H!!I are mated, all their cubs !ill be !hite H!!I. If / orange carrier tigers HW!I mate, the cubs can be WW, W!, or !! . there is a - in 2 chance of a !hite cub. B-2C The !hite gene can thus be passed do!n through generations of orange tigers !ithout sho!ing up. The history of !ild !hite tiger sightings sho!s that the ! gene occurred in tigers in different areas, signifying a spread throughout the !ild. B-=, -.)rigin of the White TigerC There !ere also se'eral unrelated founder lines of capti'e !hite tigers $ eg in India the ?e!a H+ohanI line, and the )rissa line. B--,;,-=C In US*, the :a!thorn ,ircus Sheba&8agheera&Frosty line, and the ShebaII&?aOah&Tony lines. B--,1/C There may be others gi'en that orange tigers can carry the ! gene $ eg the )rissa line !as a surprise result from pairing / orange tigers. Thus, both history and genetics sho! that it is not necessary to inbreed siblings or parent.offspring pairs to produce !hite tigers Halthough this !as done in the past to increase the numbers %uic lyI. It is not e'en necessary to breed !hite tiger to !hite tiger to produce a !hite cub. B-=,/9C *ll that is necessary is to mate / tigers that each ha'e one or / of the ! !hite gene to gi'e a possiblity of a !hite cub . and there are unrelated lines of tigers that carry this gene. KKKKKKKKKKKKKKK && KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK
?eferences: B;,--,-2,-=,/9,1/,17,19C ?ef 1/ co'ers the lineages in more detail See also -. )rigin of the White Tiger for history of !ild !hite tiger sightings. Ruote: “*ll the !hite tigers in Indian "oos originated from t!o lineages, one from ?e!a and the other from Eandan anan” Hie )rissaI $ ?oychoudhery et al, B-=C “G!hite tigers had been sighted in the forests of ?e!a for 4@ years. There are also reports on !hite tigers seen in the forests of 8ihar, )rissa and *ssam. *ll these !hite tigers found at different places must ha'e been the results of matings bet!een normal coloured tigers carrying mutant genes for !hite coat colour” B-=C
“The colour of the fur, stripes and eye of the tiger is determined independently by t!o types of melanin S pheomelanin and eumelanin. In the case of !hite tigers, only the pheomelanin that produces the red to yello! colour is affected. 3umelanin gi'es the blac to bro!n colour and is unaffected, the reason !hy the eye and hair in the stripes are dar or sepia bro!n.” B17C

8 7 8reeding and Inbreeding
F*66*,D: *ll White tigers are se'erely inbred F*,T: Inbreeding is mostly a practice of the past. “Inbreeding is a problem that can be controlled utili"ing proper management”. B9C 3arly Inbreeding In the early days of capti'e !hite tiger breeding, there !as a lot of inbreeding by "oos in the rush to preser'e the gene and increase numbers B9,;,=,/9C. Some "oos inbred more than others Hboth orange and !hite tigersI due to difficulty in locating suitable breeding partners, lac of space etc. B9,;C There has also been inbreeding in other capti'e ssp populations $ eg *mur H-9 founders, some possibly siblings B/,1C I, and South ,hina Hup to 7 founders, only one female B4,/;C I. Eote that the capti'e *mur population has since been impro'ed from a mean inbreeding coefficient of @.-@; in -=;/ do!n to @.@12 in -==2P, sho!ing that early inbreeding can be rectified. B11C Similarly, “The entire population of tigers Bin Indian "oosC carrying !hite genes is descended from -7 indi'iduals of !hich -- are no!n to be !ild born and fi'e are of un no!n origin.” B-=C *s the !hite tiger is not a subspecies, but a colour 'ariation, it does not ha'e to be bred !hite to !hite to build up the numbers. The ad'antage this gi'es is the potential for outcrossing !ith orange tigers B;,1@,1;C $ this effecti'ely increases the a'ailable gene pool e'en further. 3arly Wor to Impro'e White Tiger 5enetics Se'eral "oos, notably ,incinnati and :enry Aoorly "oos, bred to impro'e their !hite tiger lines by outcrossing !ith unrelated orange tigers. 3d +arus a of the ,incinnati >oo reported 'ery good health and sur'i'al statistics for their line of !hite tigers. B9C 6ee Simmons of :enry Aoorly noted that to continue impro'ing and preser'e the !hite gene !ould re%uire a coordinated effort !ith other "oos able to participate to the same e#tent. B=C L.*. ?oychoudhury compiled a Studboo of White Tigers in Indian >oos, listing inbreeding coefficients for possible combinations of parents, thus highlighting appropriate breeding pairs. “Eo!, "oos !hich ha'e !hite tigers can a'oid the delitrious effects of inbreeding by consulting the studboo ”. B-=C The Eandan anan "oo obtained tigers from the ?e!a line for breeding !ith their unrelated )rissa line. Into the <ri'ate Sector +any of the outcrossed !hite tigers from the US* "oos abo'e !ere sold into the pri'ate sector, !here the breeding, outcrossing, and impro'ing of genetic health has continued. Undoubtedly there !ill be some unscrupulous breeders !ho do inbreed, but the numbers of healthy !hite tigers today bear testament to the good breeding standards of other, reputable breeders $ eg :a!thorn ,ircus. B-9,1/C It is estimated that today there are about 2@@ !hite tigers in pri'ate o!nership in US*, !ith as many as -@@@ hetero"ygous orange tigers carrying the !hite gene. B-9C That is a larger pool than most capti'e pure subspecies of tiger. PB/4C In India, the !hite tiger is part of the 8engal tiger ssp. KKKKKKKKKKKKKKK && KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK
?efs B/,1,4,9,;,=,-9,-=,/4,1@,1/,11,1;C P Inbreeding ,oefficient: <arent&child or brother&sister matings T I, of @./4@. First cousins mating T I, of @.@7/4. P 3stimates of capti'e tiger subspecies populations c/@-@: *mur.2/-, Sumatran./=-, +alayan.--4, Indochinese.-2, 8engal. -=4 B/4C Ruote: “If outcrossing and bac crossing are conducted alternately, !hite tigers can be produced !ith the lo!est possible le'el of inbreeding”. B;C “..Simmons said "oos breed responsibly by periodically crossing !hite tigers !ith orange ones to maintain a healthy gene pool”. B1@C

9 9 :ealth of White Tigers
F*66*,D: White tigers are deformed&unhealthy and many die young or at birth F*,T: There are -@@(s of healthy !hite tigers li'ing today. “The !hite tiger trait is not a genetic deformity” B17C Fallacy -: “*ll !hite tigers are deformed”. * %uic search of the internet !ill re'eal photos of do"ens of healthy, beautiful !hite tigers $ and many photos of )E3 deformed tiger. This is Lenny, “the poster child for the campaign against !hite tigers”. *s an aside, Lenny(s deformities may !ell be from inbreeding $ but deformities&early death can ha'e many other causes as !ell, including poor diet and husbandry. B9,;,1/C 3d +arus a of ,incinnati >oo demonstrated that different "oos achie'ed 'astly different results, possibly due to differences in husbandry. :e reported 'ery good health in his "oo(s tigers, !ith fe! problems. B9C Fallacy /: “For e'ery perfect !hite tiger you see, at least -@@ !ere euthani"ed because of deformity”. This is a physical impossibility. It is estimated that there are appro# 2@@ !hite tigers in US* alone $ the assertion abo'e !ould mean that more than 2@@@ !hite cubs ha'e been born o'er = generations. B-9C Some of the misconceptions may ha'e come from relying on studies of early breeding attempts in'ol'ing close inbreeding at a small number of "oos Heg Ee! Aelhi, ,alcutta, 8ristolI. These studies predate or ignore more recent breeding practices, Bsee 7. 8reeding and InbreedingC and to e#trapolate these results to *66 breeding programs gi'es erroneous Hoften impossibleI results. B9,-9C The programs !ith high inbreeding did indeed ha'e high mortality, and lo!er fertility. If this had been the norm and had continued for all = generations $ !ell, the !hite tiger !ould ha'e died out !ell before = generations due to inbreeding depression. B9,;,/9C Inbreeding Aefects ' ?ecessi'e 5ene Aefects ,lose inbreeding undoubtedly can cause defects, such as lo! fertilitiy, many stillbirths, reduced litter si"e, !ea immunity, arching of bac bone, croo ed nec s, shortened tendons&legs. B9,/9C If !hite tigers are continually inbred, these problems can Hand doI result. 8ut as !e ha'e seen, it is not necessary to inbreed to produce !hite tigers. The !hite gene mutation affects only the pigmentation, so does not of itself cause health defects. B17C ?ecessi'e genes can be paired !ith deleterious genes. B/=C White tigers do ha'e a tendency to eye !ea ness, eg strabismus, but this does not occur in all !hite tigers and it may be possible to breed the trait out. B9C The !hite colour itself is often presented as a “deleterious” effect B/=C $ but history sho!s that !hite tigers can and did sur'i'e in the !ild. Bsee also /. Sur'i'al in the Wild and --. ,onser'ation and 3'olutionC KKKKKKKKKKKKKKK && KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK
?efs: B9,;,-9,/=,1/,17C ?ef 1/ has more details of health problems and their causes $ ie inbreeding ' traits lin ed to the !hite gene ' bad husbandry. “For e#ample, I 'isited the 8ristol >oo(s !hite tigers in -=7;, and at that time they did not ha'e a 'accination program.” B9C “Gillustrates that capti'e breeding and rearing techni%ues may 'ary from one institution to another and that mi#ed results can ha'e an important impact on statistics used to determine mortality in !hite tiger offspring”. 3+ B9C “Some specimens are cross.eyed, a malady in capti'e, normal colored lions and tigers, and there is also e'idence of feline central retinal degeneration. This is possibly related to reduced pigment formation. In 4/ !hite tiger births, there !ere four cases of strabismus, all from the four !hite offspring of Lesari and Tony. 8him and Sumita !ere retained and all of their offspring had normal set eyes e#cept one male of their first litter. 8ecause strabismus is of rare occurrence and probably lin ed to the !hite coat gene, it is possible that it might be further reduced or e'en eliminated by selecti'e breeding”. B9C

10 ; <ure Subspecies ' 5eneric Tigers
F*66*,D: White Tigers are useless because they are sub.species hybrids F*,T: Eot all are hybrids, and hybrid Hie genericI tigers are 'aluable genetically *ll India(s !hite tigers are pure bred 8engal tigers B-=C , !hile !hite tigers in pri'ate o!nership in US* are assumed to be 8engal&*mur crosses Hbut not all are necessarily soI. 5eneric Tigers are Qaluable +any people assume that only “pure” subspecies tigers are !orth preser'ing, and that it is “!rong” to breed “generic” Hie crossbredI tigers. Incorrect. 8ac in the -=;@s, it !as recommended that TW) types of breeding plans be implemented for tigers: B2C . The first for the pure bred tigers, !ith a stud.boo , for preser'ing locality.adapted genotypes !ith a 'ie! to possible reintroduction into those localities at a later date Hif the localities still e#ist as suitable tiger habitatIJ andG . The second for generic tigers . 'aluable for preser'ing the Tiger species as a !hole, and their genetic heterogeneity. This second group of tigers !as belie'ed to ha'e much !ider genetic di'ersity than the pure subspecies. 5enetic studies more recently ha'e confirmed this genetic 'ariety, sho!ing that the generic tigers contain some gene types lost to the capti'e subspecies groups Hand unreported in !ild tigersI. B2,-/C With their limited resources, *ssociation "oos could not be e#pected to manage the / breeding programs. It has thus fallen on the pri'ate sector to continue !ith the /nd program. :o! +eaningful is a Subspecies 0 “There is a common misperception that subspecies are based on sound scientific principles ” B/@C There is di'ided opinion on ho! many subspecies of tiger there really are, and if they are meaningful. B/,-/,/@,11C * study of 8engal, *mur, and Sumatran Tigers found the genetic distance bet!een the 1 subspecies to range from .@@1 . .@-@ Hmean .@@9I. This is four times less than the genetic distance bet!een human racial groups. B-C There may ha'e been only 1 ssp, not ;, being <.t.tigris . mainland *sia, <.t.'irgata $ SW *sia He#tinctI, and <.t.sondaica $ Sunda Islands. B12C )ther Qaluable :ybrids It should also be noted that the South ,hina Tiger population is suspected to be hybrids !ith the Indo. ,hinese Tiger, not pure.bred <.t.amoyensis. B-/,/;C KKKKKKKKKKKKKKK && KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK
?efs: B-,/,2,-/,/@,/;,11C Ruote: “Gthe tiger has a relati'ely lo! population genetic di'ersity, a conse%uence of relati'ely recent demographic reductions and&or founder e'ents”. B-/C “*nother concern re'ol'es around the issue of species definition. The biological 'alidity of the fi'e e#tant races, or Nsubspecies,N of tigers HSiberian, Sumatran, Indochinese, 8engal, and South ,hinaI is not established. The molecular, electrophoretic and phylogenetic e'idence presented at the -=;7 International Tiger Symposium indicated no clear nor compelling need to separate the tiger species into its presently referred to subspecies. This present day di'ision of <anthera tigris re'ol'es around geopolitical positions rather than biological distinctions” B11C

11 = *>* ?ecommendations and SS< HSpecies Sur'i'al <lanI
F*66*,D: White tigers should not be bred because *>* says not to. B/=,1@C F*,T: *>* directi'es apply to *>* "oos, and does not pro'e that !hite tigers should not be bred at all. >oos !orld!ide ha'e limited space and resources to hold large carni'ores, and to eep a 'iable capti'e breeding population of any subspecies re%uires a fairly large number o'erall. When the Tiger Species Sur'i'al <lan !as initiatedin the -=;@s&=@s, US* *ssoc. >oos decided to concentrate their efforts on preser'ing 1 of the 4 Tiger subspecies $ *mur, Sumatran, and Indochinese. * reasonable decision, gi'en the limited resources. There !as no room for 8engal or 8engal cross tigers in this plan, and this is one of the reasons the *>* "oos phased the !hite tigers out of their breeding programs. B=,-@,1@C There has been much disagreement amongst professionals about the “!orth” of !hite tigers, ranging from: “The !hite tiger should be 'ie!ed as a gift of Eature. It(s conser'ation is as important as that of the normal tiger” $ ?oychoudhury B;C to: “White tigers are frea s. It(s not the role of a "oo to sho! t!o.headed cal'es and !hite tigers.” $ ,on!ay B9C and “Gtheir 'alue to !ild tiger conser'ation is "eroG They are also ta ing up resources and space that could be dedicated to endangered tiger 'arieties” $ Tilson et al B/7C )thers, !hile admitting the !orth of the !hite tiger, recognise the difficulty for the association "oos to manage a healthy breeding program for them !ith their limited resources. 3'ery !hite tiger is seen as ta ing up a slot that could be filled by one of the pure subspecies. B9,-@C >oos can(t do e'erything $ compromises had to be made. Eote that the *>* directi'e only applies to *>* "oos $ it may be the right decision for *>* to not breed !hite tigers Hor any 8engal tigersI, but that decision does not pro'e any inherent lac of 'alue in the !hite tiger, despite !hat some of the outspo en critics opine. *>* directi'es do not apply to pri'ate sector "oos, or to "oos in other countries, eg India. Eote also that there are still 44 !hite tigers held in /; *>* accredited "oos in US* B--C Has at /@-- . This is an increase from -; "oos in -=;9 B=CI. *pparently these "oos still find 'alue in the !hite tiger despite *>*(s opinions. B1@C KKKKKKKKKKKKKKK && KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK
?efs: B9,;,=,-@,--,/7,/=,1@C Ruote: Simmons: “Dou Oustify !hite tigers in e#actly the same !ay you Oustify tra'eling giant pandas, oalas or any other high. 'isibility animal !hich, through the ability to catch the public fancy, significantly enhances public support and therefore the financial !ell.being of your institutionGthe bottom line realities of life are that long term conser'ation and propagation programs are accomplished only !ith stable financial and public support” B=C
The Southeast +issourian, +ay /4 /@@4: B1@C “The official species sur'i'al plan for tigers, a compact among "oos, does not recommend their breeding because they are not pureblooded specimens of any of the fi'e remaining subspecies of tiger. NFrom my perspecti'e it is irresponsible, if not reprehensible, because they are bringing these animals into the !orld purposefully for profit,N said ?on Tilson, director of conser'ation at the +innesota >oo and coordinator of the Tiger Species Sur'i'al <lan. 8ut Simmons said "oos breed responsibly by periodically crossing !hite tigers !ith orange ones to maintain a healthy gene pool.N?on HTilsonI is a good friend but heUs a little bit idealistic,N Simmons said of his +innesota colleague. NI absolutely do not ha'e the slightest little guilt feelingN about breeding or displaying !hite tigers.”

12 -@ White Tigers *round the World
This report has concentrated on !hite tigers in US* and India, as most information a'ailable pertains to those / countries. There are also !hite tigers in capti'ity in many other countries, eg Lorea, 8uenos *ires, 5ermany, France, *ustralia, E>, UL, ,hina. Wild White Tigers in :istory There is no definiti'e proof that !hite tigers occurred in countries other than India Hand adOoining countries li e EepalI. :o!e'er, the !hite tiger does occur in myths from other countries, eg ,hina and +alaysia. There is also the case of the +altese Tiger. :arry ,ald!ell reported the e#istance of tigers !ith fur that he described as a delicate shade of “maltese blue” from the FuOian pro'ince of ,hina. B-4C White tigers( fur contains an en"yme that causes it to dar en !ith lo!er temperatures $ a feature they share !ith Siamese cats and :imalayan rabbits. B--C ,ould this dar ening create the “maltese” Hie bluish grayI appearance of the FuOian tigers 0 If so, it could be e'idence that the !hite tiger of ,hina !as not Oust a myth. :o!e'er, the FuOian pro'ince today has a !arm humid climate, so this theory !ould rely on the +altese Tiger being a relic from other, colder areas or times. KKKKKKKKKKKKKKK && KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK

13 --. ,onser'ation and 3'olution
It is often stated that the !hite tiger has no 'alue to conser'ation. ,onser'ation in'ol'es protecting the status %uo $ the habitat and species that already e#ist. With this definition, it is arguable that the !hite tiger does not contribute directly to current tiger conser'ation proOects, ie the Tiger Species Sur'i'al <lan subspecies. The !hite tiger does not directly aid, for e#ample, Sumatran tiger conser'ation, although it is a part of 8engal tiger conser'ation. :o!e'er, conser'ation is not Eature(s only means for sur'i'al. ,onditions change, species mutate and e'ol'e. The earth has been in a flu# of glacial Hice ageI and interglacial stages for -@@@(s of years. The latest interglacial began around --,@@@ years ago. The tiger has been around for appro# / million years, adapting and sur'i'ing through 'astly different climates. Is the !hite tiger a relic from pre'ious ice ages 0 Is the gene an adaptation to changing climates today 0 *s the tigers( traditional habitat is decreased and degraded, is the !hite gene Eature(s insurance policy to enable the tiger to li'e in changing conditions 0 We ha'e so little information about the tiger(s history $ perhaps -@@ years !orth of decent records, out of / million years !hich can only be pieced together by the paleobiologist and geneticist. Similar occurrences may be seen in other !hite animals. For e#ample, <olar 8ears e'ol'ed from bro!n bears, and genome studies ha'e sho!n that they continued to interbreed !ith bro!n bears. It is thought that their e'olution !as closely tied to climate change. Today, along !ith the fears that polar bear habitat is disappearing at an alarming rate, polar bears ha'e again been obser'ed interbreeding !ith gri""ly bears. The offspring is fertile. Is this Eature(s !ay of preser'ing the polar bear genes, by mingling them into the bro!n bear populations 0 Aid a similar thing happen !ith !hite tigers 0 These %uestions do not yet ha'e definiti'e ans!ers. )ne thing !e do no!, is that +an has o'errun most of the !ild habitat once a'ailable to tigers, and their sur'i'al rests in our hands. It !ould be premature to “thro! a!ay” the !hite gene !ithout fully understanding it(s significance throughout a larger time scale than a mere -@@ years. KKKKKKKKKKKKKKK && KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK
?efs: http:&&science.psu.edu&ne!s.and.e'ents&/@-/.ne!s&Schuster+iller9./@-/ http:&&!!!.spiegel.de&international&!orld&polar.bears.and.gri""lies.producing.hybrid.offspring.as.arctic.melts.a.;4=/-;.html

Conclusion The !hite tiger is “part of genetic di'ersity of tigers that is !orth conser'ing.”

The !hite tiger is a natural colour 'ariant of <anthera tigris. It sur'i'ed in the !ild for o'er a hundred years Hthat !e no! ofI, perhaps much longer. They !ere inbred in capti'ity in the past, but this practice is harmful, unnecessary, and not continued by responsible breeders today.There are se'eral unrelated lineages carrying the !hite gene, and it is also possible to outcross !ith unrelated orange tigers. The !hite tiger is a natural part of the tiger(s genetic 'ariation and the gene should be preser'ed. * Mgeneric( !hite tiger Hie cross bet!een *mur&8engal subspeciesI is still a 'aluable addition to the tiger species genepool $ there is e'en doubt that the currently used subspecies distinctions are 'alid. White tiger breeding occurs in many "oos around the !orld $ some associations ha'e decided not to breed them, others ha'e decided to continue. )pinions differ, and the decision made by one group of "oos does not ha'e to be imposed on others.

eferences 1 !etting the "olecular #lock in $elidae % &’'rien, #ollier et al( tw1(1)*+) , -se of .lectrophoretic /ata in the eevaluation of 0iger !ystematics % 1oebel,2hitmore(tw1 3 0he !iberian 0iger in the -!! % !pitsin, omanov, 4opov 5 !mirnov tw1(1)*+) 6 !upspecies and the #onservation of 4anthera tigris % 7errington tw1(1)*+) 8 !tatus and 4roblems of #aptive 0igers in #hina % 'ang9ie tw1(1)*+) : #linical "anagement of #aptive 0igers % 'ush, 4hillips, "ontali tw1(1)*+) + 2hite 0iger; 4hantom or $reak < % "aruska tw1(1)*+) * 2hite 0igers and 0heir #onservation % oychoudhury tw1(1)*+) ) 2hite 0igers; 0he ealities % !immons tw1(1)*+) 10 2hite 0igers and !pecies !urvival 4lans % =atinen tw1(1)*+) 11 http;>>www(truthaboutwhitetigers(com>whitetigerreport(pdf 1, 2hat is a 0iger< 1enetics 5 4hylogeography % =uo et al( tw, (,010) 13 "aneaters of ?umaon % @im #orbett (1)66) 16 ?ailash !ankala - 0igerA 0he !tory of the Bndian 0iger (1)++) 18 'lue 0iger % 7arry #aldwell 1: 0igers 0ake CDight !hiftE to /odge 7umans http;>>www(bbc(co(uk>news>science-environment-1)6:6+81 1+ http;>>www(felineconservation(org>fcf>)FgenerationsFofFwhiteFtigers(htm 1* ichard =ydekker % #ats (c1)0+) 1) !tudbook of 2hite 0igers in Bndian Goos % oychoudhury (1)*)) ,0 2hat is a 0iger< 'iogeography, "orphology and taHonomy % ?itchener, Iamaguchi tw, ,1 =ost =and of the 0iger % ''# film ,, http;>>tigertribe(net>tigers-origin>white-and-coloured-tigers> (Bncludes pic from Jkbarnama) ,3 http;>>www(whitelions(org>indeH(php<optionKcomFcontent5viewKarticle5idK:+ ,6 'ig #ats and 0heir $ossil elatives % 0urner (1))+) ,8 0he !cience and Jrt of "anaging 0igers in captivity % 0raylor-7olzer( tw, (,010) ,: 0hirteen 0housand and #ounting; 7ow 1rowing captive 0iger 4opulations 0hreaten 2ild 0igers % 0ilson, Dyhus, 7utchins( tw, (,010) ,+ Bnbreeding in 2hite 0igers % oychoudhury 5 !ankhala (1)+*) ,* eintroduction of the #hinese 0iger % 'reitenmoser,0ilson,Dyhus (,00:) ,) JGJ 2hite 4aper - 2elfare and #onservation Bmplications of Bntentional 'reeding $or the .Hpression of are ecessive Jlleles (,011) 30 C'lack and 2hite BssueE in 0he !outheast "issourian % "ay ,8, ,008 1- http:&&!!!.messybeast.com&genetics&tigers.!hite.htm for records of !hite tigers in !ild 1/ http:&&!!!.messybeast.com&genetics&tigers.inbreeding.htm 11 +anagement and ,onser'ation of ,apti'e Tigers $ Tilson et al H-==2I 12 ?iding the Tiger: Tiger ,onser'ation in :uman.Aominated 6andscapes $ Seidenstic er et al -=== 14 6oe!e, 6. H/@@;I 5enetic mutation. Eature 3ducation -H-I:--1

http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpa e/ enetic-mutation-1127
17 ? <rasad, White 8engal Tiger 3nigma Sol'ed. The :indu, +ay /2 /@-1 http:&&!!!.thehindu.com&sci.tech&energy.and.en'ironment&!hite.bengal.tiger.enigma. sol'ed&article292171=.ece 19 The 5enetic 8asis of White Tigers, Shu.Fin 6uo et al. ,urrent 8iology . 1 Fune /@-1. http:&&!!!.cell.com&current.biology&retrie'e&pii&S@=7@=;//-1@@2=4;VSummary 1; ? <rasad, White Tiger Eumbers can be Increased !ithout Inbreeding. The :indu, +ay /2 /@-1 http:&&!!!.thehindu.com&sci.tech&energy.and.en'ironment&!hite.tiger.numbers.can.be.increased. !ithout.inbreeding&article2924;=9.ece

?ecommended ?eading t!- $ Tigers of the World $ The 8iology, 8iopolitics, +anagement, and ,onser'ation of an 3ndangered Species. -st 3d. Tilson,Seal. H-=;9I t!/ $ Tigers of the World $ The Science, <olitics, and ,onser'ation of <anthera Tigris. /nd ed. Tilson,Eyhus H/@-@I. TigerW The Story of the Indian Tiger $ Lailash San hala ? <rasad, White 8engal Tiger 3nigma Sol'ed. The :indu, +ay /2 /@-1 http:&&!!!.thehindu.com&sci.tech&energy.and.en'ironment&!hite.bengal.tiger.enigma. sol'ed&article292171=.ece

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