Wednesday, October 13, 2010

White Tiger

White Tiger

Tigers in general are the biggest cats in the world. They live in steamy hot jungles as well as icy cold forests. There are five different kinds or subspecies of tiger alive in the world today. These tigers are called Siberian, South China, Indochinese, Bengal, and Sumatran. Tigers are an endangered species; only about 5,000 to 7,400 tigers are left in the wild. Three tiger subspecies, the Bali, Javan, and Caspian tigers have become extinct in the past 70 years.

Physical Feature
The tiger reaches up to 13 feet in size from nose to tail with the female being slightly smaller. They weigh approximately 500-700 pounds with the female being slightly smaller. Their lifestyle is solitary except when they breed. The mainly eat large animals such as antelope, deer, and oxen. The tigers lifespan is about 10 years. The white tiger reaches sexual maturity at approximately 3 and a half to 4 years old. The mating is non-seasonal and they produce between 1 and six cubs.

Tiger Habitats & Diets
The tiger lives in varied habitats open jungles, humid evergreen forests and mango grove swamps. Tigers prefer thick grass, dense jungle and undergrowth in which they can hide and wait for their prey. The stripes on the hide of the tiger act as an incredible camouflage and help the tiger conceal itself in tall grass and vegetation. Tigers unlike other cats, like water and in the hot summer are often seen sitting or lying in pools of water to stay cool and are good swimmers.

Its diet consists mainly of deer, antelopes, gaurs and wild pigs. Sometimes it also captures birds, lizards, turtles, fishes, frogs and crabs. Tigers hunt on their own and usually lead a solitary existence, each in its own territory. They are blessed with good swimming power but seldom climb trees.
Know The White Tigers
White tigers are basically a colour variant of the Bengal tiger and are rarely found in the wild. All white tigers in captivity in the world today are the descendants of one white tiger, Mohan caught by the Maharaja of Rewa in the year 1951. A White Tiger is the same as a Royal Bengal Tiger except for a genetic mutation that causes the change in the colour of their fur and eyes. White tigers have blue eyes and brownish stripes.

Sites of White Tigers
White tigers are only born when two tigers that both carry the unusual gene for white colouring mate. The white bengal tigers are mostly found in clumpy and forested areas where they can camouflage themselves.

Though, today white tigers are mostly confined in the zoos like Nandan Kanan in Orissa, they are also seen in Kanha National Park, Bandhavgarh National Park, Bandipur National Park, Ranthambore National Park, Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, Kaziranga National Park, Corbett National Park.

Key Factors
Zoological name: Panthera tigris tigris
Origin : "Mohan" the tiger found by the Maharaja Shri Martand Singh of Rewa in the year 1951.

Origin of The White Tigers
In 1951, in central India, Maharaja Shri Martand Singh found a male white cub who's mother had been recently killed. He returned to his palace with the cub that he named "Mohan". The tiger soon became a bit of a celebrity.

When Mohan reached adulthood, he was bred to a normal tiger named "Begum". They produced three litters of cubs, but none of them were white. When Mohan was bred to one of his own daughters from the second litter however, four white cubs were born. One of these white cubs was named "Mohini" who was then bred to her uncle/half-brother "Sampson" and two of their offspring were sent to the National Zoo in Washington D.C. where they were bred to each other and produced, among other cubs, "Kesari" who was the foundation for the Cincinnati Zoo's line of white tigers....and this way the lineage continued.

In short, ALL of the white tigers you see in pictures are descendants of Mohan, and they are a close knit family (if you know what I mean). This includes the thirty-five or so "Royal White Tigers of Nevada" kept by Siegfried and Roy at The Mirage in Las Vegas.

The White Tigers in the Wilds
White tigers are very hard to find in the wild. In about 100 years only a dozen white tigers have been seen in the wild in India. They are almost extinct and most of the ones living are in captivity, mostly in zoos. This specific tiger is not an albino or a seperate subspecies of the tiger. They are just white coloured and have black stripes. It has blue eyes and a pink nose. It also has white coloured fur. The white tiger is born to a bengal tiger that has the gene needed for white colouring. A pure white tiger has no stripes and are totally white. This is rare to find.

White Tigers & Conservation
Although white tigers are amazingly beautiful animals, they serve no conservation purpose, with the exception of increasing attendance to zoos. Thus increasing public awareness and education of the plight of all endangered animals. For this reason, the SSP (Species Survival Plan) coordinators for the various surviving subspecies of tiger do not authourize breeding the white tiger in their programs. Still this remarkable animal continues to bring hundreds of thousands of fascinated visitors to zoos and educational facilities across the world. Public awareness is the first step in conservation.