Myth #1 - White tigers are always the result of inbreeding.
•FALSE: Many facilities produce this color variation by introducing unrelated genetics to known white gene carriers. This increases the genetic diversity and strengthens the health of their bloodlines. Standard orange and black Bengal tigers carrying the gene to produce white tigers have been outbred in international breeding programs for over 30 years. Now white tigers in India have a longer life span than standard tigers and may soon be re-introduced to the wild. When 2 white tiger males are bred with any 2 unrelated normal color female tigers the offspring are normal colored. But when those two different litters mature and breed, many of the cubs they produce will be white. This is called outbreeding. These white tiger cubs are not inbred. No inbreeding is required to produce white tigers.
Myth #2 - White tigers are ALL cross-eyed.
•FALSE: White tigers, on average, tend to have no greater or lesser incidence of vision problems than standard color tigers. Crossed eyes are very rare in white and black striped tigers.
Myth #3 - White tigers suffer from a wide range of birth defects
•FALSE: Most white tigers are every bit as healthy as their orange counterparts, if not more so.
Myth #4 - White tigers have a much shorter lifespan than standard tigers.
•FALSE: The average lifespan of wild tigers is generally between eight to twelve years. Captive tigers regularly live into their late teens and early twenties, regardless of their color. Captivity lengthens the lives of big cats due to the lack of competition for food as well as the ready availability of medical care.
Myth #5 - White tigers are more dependent on their caretakers due to mental abnormalities.
•FALSE:This is blatant pseudo-scientific misinformation. There is no evidence of any sort – either scientific or otherwise - to support this idea. Variations in tiger behavior are a result of the personality traits and intellectual abilities of each individual tiger, rather than on their color.
Myth #6 - White tigers originate from a single inbred bloodline.
•FALSE: The Mohan/Mohini bloodline, which began at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. in 1960 is one example. However, in the fifty years since then, there are now several hundred healthy white tigers that originated from completely separate bloodlines alive and well in the United States today. That translates into approximately 11 generations since Mohan and Mohini. If all private owners had continued to inbreed their tigers as intensively as was done in the early history of Mohan and Mohini, this would be impossible.
Inbreeding decreases survivability by comprising the immune systems and increasing genetic defects. Inbreeding continued at the levels described in the early history of the Mohan/Mohini bloodline would eventually result in extinction due to total loss of offspring survivability. White tigers are now every equally as healthy as standard tigers. They generally tend to exhibit no evidence of birth defects or physical abnormalities of any kind.
Myth #7 - White tigers are a hybrid cross of Siberian and Bengal tigers.
•FALSE: Siberian tigers do not carry the recessive genes that produce white tigers. Bengal tigers carry the recessive genes capable of producing four different color variations. – Standard, Royal White, Snow White and Golden Tabby. All of the white tigers found in the wild for the last 400 years have been pure Bengal tigers in India. Many white tigers living in the U. S. are pure Bengal tigers. Siberian tigers have been crossed into some white tiger bloodlines in order to expand genetic diversity and to produce increased size and strength.
Myth #8 - White tigers cannot survive in the wild.
•FALSE: White tigers have been documented in Indian literature dating back to the 15th century. Prized for their unique beauty they were often taken into captivity for breeding in royal menageries. One good example is how the white tiger single handedly saved the Manzanilla’s turtles.
Myth #9 - Thirty to sixty cats must be destroyed to produce one profitable white tiger.
•FALSE: There is not one shred of evidence to support this claim. In order for these kinds of numbers to work out, there would have to be a breeding group of no less than 300 adult tigers to produce 5 cubs annually. No such large group of tigers exists in the U. S. or any other country.
The idea of tiger cub ‘puppie mills' becomes completely absurd when several unavoidable facts of tiger reproduction are considered. Female tigers are reproductively mature between three to five years of age. They will have no more than three litters every two years. They will be of cub bearing age for no more than eight years during which time they will have between one to five cubs per litter, usually having less in the first few litters as well as the last few litters, so this single animal will only produce twenty five to thirty surviving cubs in her lifetime giving a 20% natural mortality rate. So if this tiger were only going to be able to have a one out of sixty chance of having a healthy white cub the fictitious tiger mill would need hundreds of young males and females being to raised to sexual maturity. There would be hundreds of post sexual maturity males and females who can live a decade past that point. This means that in order to produce hundreds of white tiger cubs annually, an unbelievably enormous number of adult tigers would be required. The expense of maintaining hundreds of tigers at a facility providing the proper nutrition for reproduction would be tremendous. If the average tiger eats ten pounds of meat daily, and there are five hundred tigers at this facility, then five thousand pounds of meat per day is required. The cost is 1.8 million $ dolllars annually, if the meat costs only one dollar per pound. That is an amount far in excess of what this fictitious tiger mill could earn.
Myth # 10 - White tigers serve no conservation purpose.
•FALSE:White tigers catch people's interest with their enormous size and beauty. They are the calling card for the endangered species of the world. White tigers, as animal ambassadors, have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars used to directly support international grass roots conservation of endangered species.In 2013 there was an 8% increase of white tigers in AZA zoo and parks.
- There are 65 white tigers on exhibit in 34 of the 223 AZA accredited zoo's in the US. 15% of the AZA zoo's are now exhibiting white tigers. It is belived that just over 400 white tigers are being held world wide.
- This (white tigers on exhibit) is a 8% increase in white tigers within AZA zoo's in the last 20 months.
- Current AZA accredited zoo's are 223, up from only 213 last year, only a 1% increase.
- There are 301 non-AZA accredited zoo's, aquariums, wildlife centers and refuges, which is up 67% from 2010 with a total of 203, (source Michigan State University, Department of Zoology, Zoo and Aquarium Science Program)
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