After arriving in the United States, Mohini spent 1 night in the Bronx Zoo[30], and was then exhibited for three days in the Philadelphia Zoo[31][32], before traveling on to Washington.[10] Her name is the feminine of Mohan, and translates as "Enchantress". She was her father's namesake. She was a great attraction, and the zoo wanted to breed more white tigers. At the time, no more white tigers were being allowed out of India, so Mohini was mated to Sampson, and half brother, who was sent from Ahmedabad Zoo in 1963.[33] (It seems probable that financial considerations may have also precluded Washington from acquiring a second white tiger as a mate for Mohini.)

After Sampson's death in 1966, at age 11 of kidney failure, Mohini was bred to Ramana, who was then the only male white gene carrier available. This resulted in the birth of a white daughter named Rewati on April 13, 1969[34] and a white son named Moni on Feb. 8, 1970. Moni was to have undertaken a fund raising tour for Project Tiger. He was born in a litter of five, which included two white males and three orange females. One was stillborn and the mother crushed the others after three days. Rewati had an orange male littermate which died after two days. Ramana was born on July 1, 1964 and had two litter mates-a white male named Rajkumar, who was the first white tiger born in a zoo, and an orange female named Ramani. Both died of feline distemper despite having been vaccinated, at ten months age. Rajkumar had a particularly nasty disposition. All of Mohini's cubs were named by the Indian Ambassador.

The birth of Mohini's first litter was televised in a national special. Mohini's orange daughter Kesari was born in 1966 with an orange female who was stillborn. After Moni died in 1971 the National Zoo tried to acquire an orange tiger named Ram from Trivandrum Zoo, in southern India, as a mate for Mohini[35]. Ram was her first cousin, a grandson of Mohan, and there was a 50% chance that he carried white genes. 25% of Ram's genes came from Mohan and 25% from Begum. 25% of Mohini's genes were from Begum and 75% from Mohan. Ram was a son of Vindhya and Suraj born on 23 IV 1965 at New Delhi Zoo, the same Ram discussed earlier. Two sisters of Ram, born on 22 Feb. 1967, went to the Romanshorn Zoo in Switzerland. In 1973 an Indochinese Tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti) named Poona, who was born at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle in 1962, was sent to Washington from the Brookfield Zoo and bred to Mohini[36] and Kesari.[37] (Poona would have been regarded as a Bengal tiger for the first two years of his life because the Indo-Chinese subspecies was not recognized until 1968.) Mohini did not conceive.  Kesari produced six orange cubs, an extraordinary number, especially for a first litter, but only one survived, (which is common in large litters in tigers[i4] ) the female named Marvina.

Kesari handed Marvina over to her keepers. Marvina was mistaken for male, and named Marvin which was changed to Marvina when it was discovered that he was a she. Washington Zoo keeper Art Cooper, who hand reared Marvina, observed that white tigers were the most obstinate cats in the zoo, and said that Marvina had a typical white tiger personality.[38] (Poona also fathered litters by two other tigresses in Brookfield.) In 1974 Marvina, Ramana, and Kesari were sent to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, and Rewati and Mohini went to the Brookfield Zoo, to be boarded during
renovations in Washington, until 1976. On June 20, 1974 while at the Cincinnati Zoo Ramana and Kesari produced a litter of three white and one orange cub, including a white male named Ranjit, two white females named Bharat and Priya, and an orange male named Peela. Devra Kleiman of the National Zoo said that she was well aware of the white gene and specifically told Cincinnati not to breed from any of these tigers-Ramana, Kesari, or Marvina. Cincinnati countered that although Ramana and Kesari had failed to breed in Washington they did so almost as soon as they arrived in Cincinnati.[39]

As a fringe benefit of inbreeding the four cubs were pure-Bengal tigers, and they were the last registered Bengal tigers born in the United States. Ramana died in 1974 of a kidney infection and became a father for the last time posthumously. A white half sister of Mohini's bred from Mohan and his white daughter Sukishi born on March 26, 1966, named Gomti[7] and later renamed Princess, lived in the Crandon Park Zoo in Miami for about a year before she died of a viral infection. She arrived in Miami on January 13, 1968.
Miami mayor Chuck Hall met the 22-month-old 350 lbs. white tigress at the airport and rode with her to the zoo. He wanted to call her Maya, the name suggested by the Maharaja, which translates as Princess. Ralph S. Scott, who paid $35,000 for her and gave her to the Zoological Society of Florida, preferred the name Princess.[41][42] It was Ralph S. Scott, a famous big game hunter, who suggested to John W. Kluge that he buy a white tiger for the children of America. He had seen the white tigers in Govindgarh Palace while tiger hunting in India.[10] The government of India wanted Princess to be the last white tiger exported from the country. A male white tiger, named Ravi, acquired by Ralph S. Scott for the Crandon Park Zoo died at Kanpur railway station en route from India in 1967. He was a son of Raja and Rani, born in New Delhi, and sold by the Maharaja of Rewa.

Mohini died in 1979.[43] The skins and skulls of Mohini and Moni are in the Smithsonian, but are not on display. An orange brother of Mohini's named Ramesh lived in the Mnagerie du Jardin des Plantes (Paris Zoo), and was bred to an unrelated tigress, but none of the offspring survived to reproduce.

Ramesh was born in Govindgarh Palace and had an orange female littermate, named Ratna who went to New Delhi Zoo, had a white male littermate named Ramu.[7] They were the fourth and last litter of Mohan and Radha. Ratna was paired with a wild caught male named Jim, at New Delhi Zoo, and produced three litters. Each cub would have had a 50% chance of inheriting the white gene from Ratna. Jim was captured in the Rewa forest, so they thought there was a chance he carried white genes. He had been somebody's pet, but after he ate a cat he was given to New Delhi Zoo. Jim used to appear leaping into his pond, at New Delhi Zoo, in the opening of one of Gerald Durrell's TV shows. E.P. Gee mentioned, in his book "The Wildlife Of India", that Bristol Zoo wanted to acquire one of the cubs of Mohan and Begum, as a mate for one of its white tigers, Champak or Chameli, to lessen the degree of inbreeding, as the US National Zoo had done through the acquisition of Sampson. In 1987 Ranjit, Bharat, Priya, and Peela were sold to the International Animal Exchange. Ranjit, Priya, and Peela went to the IAE's facility in Grand Prairie, Texas. The phenomenon of spontaneous ovulation in a tiger was first observed by Devra Kleiman, in one of the white tigresses at the National Zoo, which meant that it was possible to breed tigers by artificial insemination.


Tony, born in July of 1972 in the Circus Winter Quarters of the Cole Bros. Circus (the Terrell Jacobs farm) in Peru, Indiana, was the founder of many American white tiger lines, especially those used in circuses.[44] His grandfather was a registered Siberian tiger, named Kubla, who was born at the Como Park, Zoo, and Conservatory in Saint Paul, Minnesota.[45][46] Kubla's parents were born in the wild. He was bred to a Bengal tigress named Susie, from a west coast zoo, at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls in South Dakota. Susie was once owned by Clyde Beatty. Two of their cubs (Rajah and Sheba II) were bred together, by Baron Julius Von Uhl, who lived in Peru, Indiana. Julius Von Uhl was born in Budapest and came to America in 1956 from Hungary after the revolution.

One of the results of his tiger breeding was Tony, who therefore carried mixed blood[47] and was
responsible for introducing Siberian genes into previously pure Bengal line of white tigers in North America. He may also be the source of a gene for stripelessness. Tigers of mixed or unknown ancestry are called generics,  by zoo people. 97% of tiger genomes are in private hands.[48] Kubla was also bred to an Amur tigress named Katrina, who was born at the Rotterdam Zoo, and passed through the hands of two American zoos before joining Kubla and Susie at the AZA accredited Great Plains Zoo (see International Tiger Studbook). Kubla and Katrina have living pure-Amur descendants which may include a line of white tigers, that are claimed as pure-Amurs, which originated out of Center Hill, Florida. These white tigers are not registered Amur tigers. A tiger trainer named Alan Gold owned a pair of Amur tigers which once produced a  white cub.

Worlds longest living tiger is a White Tiger ?

In 1972 there were four white tigers in the United States: Mohini and her daughter Rewati in Washington D.C., Tony, and his first cousin named Bagheera,a female born on July 8, 1972 in a litter of two white cubs, including a male which didn't survive, in the Hawthorn Circus of John F. Cuneo Jr. Bagheera's mother, Sheba III, was a sister of Tony's mother, Sheba II. Bagheera's father was either her registered Amur uncle and preferred mate, named Ural, or one of two of her brothers, named Prince and Saber, who were also brothers to Tony's parents.[49] Sheba III lived to be 26, an astonishing age for a tiger. (This may be the tiger world record for longevity. 20 is extremely old for a tiger.)

Most of Sheba III's litters did not include white cubs, but at least 50% of her orange cubs would have been white gene carriers, since they could have inherited the gene from their mother, and if both parents were heterozygotes 66%, or two out of three, of their orange cubs are likely to have been carriers. Prince was castrated before Sheba III conceived another white cub, a male named Frosty, born on Feb. 25, 1975, in a litter which included two orange females and one orange male.[49]

Saber was never observed trying to mate, so perhaps Ural, also called Genghis, did sire one or more of Sheba III's white cubs, which would have been three quarters Siberian had this been the case. It is possible for tigers from the same litter to have different fathers. It's also possible that any or all three tigers-Ural, Prince, and Saber, carried the white gene. Tony was purchased by John F. Cuneo Jr., owner of the Hawthorn Circus Corp. of Grayslake, Illinois[51][52] , in February 1975 for $20,000 in Detroit. Tony's parents, Raja and Sheba, produced two more white cubs at the Baltimore County Fair on June 27, 1976.[53] The cubs were a white male, named "Baltimore County Fair", a white female named "Snowball", and an orange male.[54] Snowball's name was later changed to "Maharani", and all three cubs were sold to the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus in Washington D.C.. Maharani died in 1984. Baron Julius Von Uhl had another three white cubs born between June 18 and 19, 1977 at Kingdom's 3 (formerly Lion Country Safari) at Stockbridge, Georgia off I-75 south of Atlanta.[55] Two lived only a short time. The other, named Scarlett O'Hara, died at the AZA accredited Atlanta Zoo on Jan. 30, 1978 of cardiac arrest while undergoing surgery. She was still owned by Julius Von Uhl at the time.[56][57] Tony was sent on breeding loan to the AZA accredited Cincinnati Zoo in 1976, to be bred to Rewati from the US National Zoo. However, Tony and Rewati did not breed, so he was bred to Mohini's orange daughter Kesari instead, resulting in a litter of four white and one orange cub June 27, 1976, the same day that eight year old Sheba had her white cubs in Baltimore, Maryland. It is an astounding coincidence that both tigresses gave birth to white cubs on the exact same day. On that one day America's white tiger population nearly doubled from 8 to 14. Kesari's 1976 litter represented a mixture of the two unrelated strains.

The Cincinnati Zoo retained a brother and sister pair from the litter, named Bhim and Sumita, and their orange sister Kamala. Two white males returned to the Hawthorn Circus with Tony as John Cuneo's share from the breeding loan. Tony, Bagheera, and Frosty lived for years with a troop of Hawthorn Circus tigers stationed at Marineland and Game Farm, in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Because of selective breeding only a few of the oldest white tigers in the Hawthorn Circus today are cross eyed. Bhim and Sumita became the world record parents of white cubs. In 1976 there were 39 white tigers-7 in New Delhi, 7 in Kolkata, one in Guwahati, one in Lucknow, one in Hyderabad, 8 in Bristol, Cincinnati Zoo had 2, Washington had 5, John Cuneo had 5, and Julius Von Uhl had 2. The Maharaja of Rewa retired from the white tiger business in 1976. He later abdicated in favor of his son so that he could run for the family seat in parliament and became an MP. There is a white tiger cub on the shield of the coat of arms of the Maharajas of Rewa.

White gene is saved, and controlled unrelated breeding established.

Over 70 white tigers have been born at the AZA accredited Cincinnati Zoo. The Cincinnati Zoo sold white tigers[58] for $60,000 each to other zoo's after having establised a new unrelated blood line of white tigers.  Siegfried & Roy bought a litter of three white cubs from the Cincinnati Zoo, which were offspring of Bhim and Sumita, for around $125,000. Prior to 1974 the Cincinnati Zoo wanted to acquire a white tiger, but no zoo would sell at any price. By the 1980s the Cincinnati Zoo was the world's leading purveyor of white tigers. After 1976 at least one more white tiger born at the Cincinnati Zoo was cross eyed, a cub from Bhim and Sumita's first litter. Crossed eyes may be reduced or eliminated through selective breeding, as it has been in Siamese cats

The AZA accredited Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska bought Tony's parents and orange sister Obie (born in 1975) in 1978[59], and bred more white tigers. Kesari also went to live at Omaha Zoo, but didn't have any more cubs. Some of Tony's white siblings born in Omaha proved to be sterile.
Obie was paired with Ranjit from the AZA accredited National Zoo, and their cubs like those of Tony and Kesari, included non inbred white tigers. A white tiger named Chester, who was a son of Ranjit and Obie, born at the Omaha Zoo, fathered the first test tube tigers[60], and then became the first white tiger in Australia when he was sent to the Taronga Zoo in Sydney. His brother, Panghur Ban, was the National Zoo's last white tiger.[61] A white tiger named Rajiv, a son of Bhim, became the first white tiger in Africa, when he was sent to Pretoria Zoo in exchange for a king cheetah.[62]

In 1983 Rewati was paired with Ika, from Kesari's 1976 litter, at the Columbus Zoo[63]. Ika killed Rewati in the act of mating[64]. Ika was then mated with a white tigress named Taj, who was a grand daughter of his brothers Ranjit and Bhim, and fathered white cubs in Columbus. Ika and Taj had a daughter named Lilly, who appeared on Late Night with David Letterman with Jack Hanna in 1986, as her mother Taj had done years earlier. Ika was also bred to Taj's orange mother Dolly, a daughter of Bhim and an unrelated orange tigress named Kimanthi, in Columbus. Taj's father, Duke, was a son of Ranjit from an outcross to an unrelated orange tigress. Isson, a white grandson of Kesari, was also dispatched to Columbus on breeding loan from the Hawthorn Circus, of Grayslake, Illinois, which eventually had 80 white tigers. In1984 five white tiger cubs were stolen from the Hawthorn Circus in Portland, Oregon, and two died. The tigers were touring with the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus. The culprit was a veterinarian who was sentenced to one year in prison and six months in a halfway house.[65]

In 1974 a white cub was born in the AZA accredited Racine Zoological Gardens in Wisconsin.. The father, named Bucky, killed the white cub. The mother, named Bonnie, was later bred with an orange littermate of Tony named "Chequila", who belonged to James Witchey of Ravenna, Ohio, who bought him from Dick Hartman of South Lebanon, Ohio, when he was four or five years of age. Chequila proved to be a white gene carrier and fathered at least one white cub in the Racine Zoo in 1980. It is not known whether Bucky, who came from the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo in Indiana, and his daughter Bonnie, were related to any of the established strains of white tigers. By 1987 10% of North American zoo tigers were white.

"Orissa" White Tigers

Three white tigers were also born in the Nandan Kanan Zoo (Nandankanan Zoo) in Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India in 1980. Their parents were an orange father–daughter pair called Deepak and Ganga, who were not related to Mohan or any other captive white tiger – one of their wild-caught ancestors would have carried the recessive white gene, and it showed up when Deepak was mated to his daughter. Deepak's sister also turned out to be a white gene carrier. These white tigers are therefore referred to as the Orissa strain, as opposed to the Rewa strain, of white tigers founded by Mohan [66].

When the surprise birth of three white cubs occurred there was a white tigress already living at the zoo, named Diana, from New Delhi Zoo. One of the three was later bred to her creating another blend of two unrelated strains of white tigers. This lineage resulted in several white tigers in Nandan Kanan Zoo. Today the Nandankanan Zoo has the largest collection of white tigers in India. The Cincinnati Zoo acquired two female white tigers from the Nandan Kanan Zoo, in the hopes of establishing a line of pure-Bengal white tigers in America, but they never got a male, and didn't receive authorization from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)'s Species Survival Plan (SSP) , (which has no such program for the Bengal tiger species), to breed them. The AZA has recommended that white tigers be "bred to extinction", which is to say, not bred at all and allowed to die out, because "they consume space and resources needed for endangered orange tigers".[68][69][70][71][72][73].  In these such statements it was clear that the AZA desires a controlled monopoly on the tiger conservation issues. But the white tiger has proven to be a "stand alone" single producer of conservation dollars. This is why so many AZA zoo's support the white tigers and have them on exhibit. Out of the over 200+ AZA zoos in the United States, over 50 of them currently actively exhibit the white tiger(s), and many of those use the white tiger as their flagship animal in marketing.  Further, in almost all of the AZA zoos that have any species of tiger on exhibit, it was found that most of those zoos promote the white tiger through their gift shops, and other merchandise revenue generating products.

A very good example of this is at the Minnesota Zoo where Dr. Ron Tilson , (Ret),was a high ranking tiger expert within the AZA, and a very avid speaker against the white tiger. But his own zoos sees things a little differently, and their gift shops throughout the park carry a large assortment of white tiger souvenir.  Showing that once again, the white tiger is a big supporting-vehicle in generating revenue that helps support that zoo's conservation efforts.

It has been suggested that as few as 1 in 10,000 tigers in the wild was white. Although many AZA member zoos still keep them, as an attraction to generate revenue, almost none breed them. Sarah Christie, the coordinator of Conservation Programs at London Zoo, has said that she would not be adverse to using a white tiger in a zoo breeding program provided it was purebred.

She said that it's a naturally occurring gene and it shouldn't be selected for or against.[74]Zoo breeding programs for tigers may be of doubtful value to conservation in any case. K.S. Sankhala once asked Sally Walker of the Zoo Outreach Organization, of Tamil Nadu, India, "Why do foreigners hate our white tigers so much?" The Zoo Outreach Organization used to publish studbooks for white tigers, which were compiled by A.K. Roychoudhury of the Bose Institute in Calcutta, and subsidized by the Humane Society of India. The Columbus Zoo had also hoped to breed pure-Bengal white tigers, but were unable to obtain a white registered Bengal mate for Rewati from India.[75]

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