Tuesday, May 13, 2008

White Bengal tiger

The world's most charismatic animal and the rarest is no more found in the wild. The white tiger was discovered in the wild jungles somewhere near the forests of Govindgarh which is near the Bandhavgarh tiger reserve.

It is said that a white tiger cub was found alive in a hunting expedition, the mother and other cubs where killed. The erstwhile Maharaja of Rewa who governed the region decided to capture the cub alive. The white tiger cub was eventually captured by Maharaja' team and kept in Govindgarh palace. The white tiger cub was named as Mohan.

The white tiger is a recessive gene and not an albino or a sub species as it was earlier thought. This animal lacks the yellow pigment completely hence the resultant color of the fur is black and white. The white tiger's habit and habitat is same as normal orange tigers.

The history of white tiger shows that there where other white tigers discovered and shot in India in earlier times. But the white tigers in the zoo are the progeny of Mohan. The white tiger breeds with orange or normal colored tigers naturally and hence the population has grown in the zoos.

There have been no more white tigers discovered in the wild till this date. The fact is the Bengal tiger population and its habitat has come down so drastically that chances of finding a white Bengal tiger in the wild has dimmed.

There are some morphological difference ascribed to white tigers as pink lips, icy blue eyes and larger size, which maybe true but it needs research to verify the facts. When I am on a tiger safari I keep a look out for white tigers. This may seem far fetched but who knows.