(If you find this post informative, you might like to check out these.)
URGENT ALERT: YOUR help NEEDED.
Save tigers from extinction – act here
(Background info for the action: Daily Mail 20070312: The factory farm tigers being turned into wine)
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
- 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.
- 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 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
Other original blog entries about the white tiger fraud
(added 31 Mar 07)
We’re not the only ones who have put 2 and 2 together about “conservation” of the “endangered” tiger species called the “Royal White Tiger”, and gotten everything but 4.Scarily, and truly, it extends beyond the United States, but of course. There are 2 white tigers right here in my country, Singapore. The zoo downplay the white tiger “conservation angle” now, but I remember when the two white tigers were first put on display, the advertisement the Singapore Zoological Gardens put out came complete with uber sad, heartstring-tugging music and a matching tagline which went something like: Come see the endangered white tigers, before they disappear forever. So much for being a vaulted pillar of wildlife conservation.And here are some of the well-reasoned, independent white tiger posts we found.
- Blogger Fish Feet
“The Mirage gives the impression that white tigers are a racethat needs to be conserved. The public is generally unaware of the strains on the captive tiger population and to use white tigers as a poster child of conservation is an abuse of the public’s faith. Conservation is occurring of a ‘non species’ white tigers survive in the wild but only in extremely small percentage, as long as we preserve a diverse range of the more ordinary orange tiger we will preserve the white tiger.”
“One example of this slanted perspective on biodiversity is white tigers. These spectacular animals are not a true breed but in fact the result of a rare, recessive genetic anomaly occurring in the more ordinary orange tiger (typically the Bengal Tiger subspecies) . Their fur is white or creamy, they have pink noses, usually blue eyes and black, smoky grey or chocolate-brown stripes or may lack stripes all together.”
- Blogger Laelaps
The three cubs have yet to be named, but were born to two white tigers named Conde and Bety at the zoo, having triplets in 2002 and a total of 6 cubs in 2004 according to this Yahoo!News article. What happened to all those other cubs? I can’t seem to find anything, but chances are good that they looked like this
Trying to figure out what became of the other cubs born at the Buenos Aires zoo, I learned (via the Wikipedia entry) that for quite some time the park wasn’t run well at all, constantly in a state of decay until coming under the responsibility of showbusinessman Gerardo Sofovich in 1989, named “coordinator” of the zoo. Indeed, Sofovich’s prior experience seemed to be in the realm of tv and movies, so somehow I don’t think he would have the well-being of the animals kept at the zoo first in his mind. Regardless of whether Sofovich was actually involved in the white tiger inbreeding program or not, it’s clear that the zoos continuing disregard for the wellfare of their animals stem from their desire for high attendance rates more than anything else.
Other resources and notes
- Have you bought, or know anyone who bought an exotic pet? Then please read on:
Expose on the Pet Trade. The Animal Protection Institute completed a one year investigation into the cause of so many exotic animals being abandoned by going undercover into the homes of those who promote exotic animals as pets. Watch the shocking video HERE and then TAKE ACTION.
* About this post:
This post was made in response to a comment from Michelle on our White Tiger Fraud post. Apparently, she found our post by using the search term: “whats(sic) it take to adopt a baby white tiger“. (Going slightly off-topic for a moment, here’s a great vid on why Big Cats Make Bad Pets, and if you don’t fancy a vid, here’s a text version, “So you think you want a Lion or Tiger for a pet?“)So anyway, this Michelle said, “i do not agree with you. White tigers are not frauds. There is a really low amount of white tigers so they are bred by incest but i love them.“(sic)I had thought easy to see: the captive breeding programme for the White Tiger IS quite plainly, A FRAUD. What will it take for people to actually READ before making up their minds instead of jumping to conclusions?I posted a reply, and asked a friend who volunteers at bigcatrescue, whose white tiger page is the main basis of our post, to respond as someone who is close to the reality.But Michelle’s comment got me thinking – are there really so many people who do not understand the cruelty in the reality? Is blinkerdom so prevalent?Perhaps our White Tiger Fraud post was too wordy. So here’s our answer – an alternative look, incorporating pictorial elements.)
* about bigcatrescue.org’s white tiger page:
(added Mar 07)
While there is quite a bit of info about the white tiger fraud out there, I find that this page by bigcatrescue.org has all the pertinent info and is the most comprehensive, layman-readable, and complete-in-itself article. I would end up quoting it ceaselessly even if I were to put in more of my own words. That is why I decided to just use it as the main basis of this post.
If you read the comments here, you’ll find a bigcatrescue.org discreditor whose own background is highly suspect. I’ve not removed this person’s anti-bigcatrescue.org comments and have even allowed a link (from a trusted source) to a page that shows that the founder/owner of bigcatrescue.org may have some issues – the reader can use his/her judgment about the whole brouhaha. HOWEVER, this little vendetta does not refute or negate in anyway, the truth about the white tiger fraud, plus the article was not written by the founder/owner of bigcatrescue.org but a respected zoologist, so until I can find an alternative source with info as good and as easy-to-understand, the links to and info from bigcatrescue.org stays.
For reference, here’s something that summarises (and sort of presents our stance) over the issue that sparked off the blinkered-blind-faithly visitations (emphasis mine):
The Bengal Debacle
The controversy surrounding the treatment of marine mammals is partly mirrored by recent events concerning tigers. Roy Horn, of the pair Seigfried and Roy, came to the public’s attention when he was attacked by one of his own white tigers during a show on October 3, 2003 in Las Vegas. Roy Horn and Seigfried Fischbacher have long claimed that the work they do with the tigers is important in conserving a species they call the Royal Snow White Tiger. But there is a problem with this claim—there is no such species. There are Siberian and Bengal tigers that are sometimes white, which is a genetic mutation. Though the mutation is natural, it is rare, and the efforts necessary to breed for the trait put many tigers born of the breeding effort at risk for other, less healthy, mutations. Siegfried and Roy are essentially reducing the genetic pool they have to breed from for the sake of white tigers. In a story for the Ledger in Lakeland, Fla., Ron Tilson, the conservation director of the Minnesota Zoo, says, “There is an extraordinary level of inbreeding resulting in multiple genetic defects. Many are never brought to light, because they are destroyed.” In the same story, Richard Farrando, director of captive wildlife protection at the Humane Society, discounts the claim on the Seigfried and Roy web site that they are helping to preserve the Royal Snow White Tiger.
(source: A Captive Audience)
And for more info about the implications and extent of what Siegfried and Roy has done, I quote Laura, who added her insightful comments here on 16 May (emphasis mine):
Copied from wikipedia “Stage magicians Siegfried and Roy also own snow white tigers and were the first to attempt to breed selectively for stripelessness.”
Another site lists: Siegfried and Roy’s breeding program, now operating on three continents, has increased the number of white lions from a mere two to 23, and the number of white tigers from a handful to more than 200.
– 8 Apr 07: corrected formatting issues, and added more info and links, particularly for TIGER conservation, from our White Tiger Fraud post
– 16 May 07: Added quote from Laura’s comment on the same day
– 28 Jun 07: Added care2.com‘s save tigers action alert.
– 13 Aug 07: Edited and format corrected.
– 22 Nov 07: Added info for viewing CrackleCaracal’s vid
– 22 Jan 08: Added link to info about Tuerpentine Creek, Kenny’s home.
– 22 May 08: Edited to minimise references to controversial persons and sites.