Friday, May 14, 2010
The existence of white Siberian tigers in fact never been proven, in facts of Siberian tigers population may not even carry a white fur gene. When the white Siberian tiger is born, he is probably the result of a previous mating with a white Bengal tiger, which was caused to Siberian parents carry a gene of white fur. It is known that Bengal tigers carry the genes of white fur.
There is however several reports of sightings of white Siberian tiger from the region inhabited by normal orange Siberian tiger, but nothing have been scientifically determined yet. Hopefully, future DNA testing can tell us whether or not a pure Siberian tiger can carry the gene for white fur. This would show us whether two pure Siberian tiger parents can produce a white Siberian tiger or not. A DNA testing project would however face a great challenge: a large portion of the Siberian tiger population has already been eradicated. Which genes those tigers carried, and how diverse the Siberian tiger gene pool once were, we might never find out.
White tigers are sometimes mistakenly replaced as albino tigers, but it's not quite correct term. White Bengal tigers have black or brown stripes and the reports of white Siberian tiger from the wild all speak of clearly striped Siberian white tiger. If they really albino, they would not have any stripes at all. A pure Siberian white tiger would have brown stripes on a creamy white background. Since the white Siberian tigers bred in captivity is the result of a mixture of Bengal and Siberian heritage, it can have black stripes as well. The eyes of the Bengal and Siberian white tiger are blue and the nose is of a pink shade.
Since the gene for white fur is recessive in tigers, Both parents must carry a gene in order to produce a white tiger cub. Since such a mating extremely rare, white tigers are rarely seen in the wild. Humans have however selectively bred white tigers from parents known to carry the gene and they are therefore quite common in captivity. White Bengal and white Siberian tigers are not included in the official tiger breeding programs for conservational purposes. They can however help their orange coloured relatives by making people more interested in tigers and willing to set aside resources for the protection of the wild tiger population. One example is the famous white Siberian tiger Taj. Just like the other bred in captivity white Siberian tigers, and he also has an Bengal ancestor. Taj was born in 1984, at the Henry Doorly Zoo. After two years, he moved to the National Zoo (Smithsonian Institution).