Meet Kenny, An Inbred White Tiger

Meet Kenny, An Inbred White Tiger.

White tigers are not a distinct species, nor are they albino. Rather, they are Bengal/Siberian tigers with recessive traits that manifest as white fur and blue eyes. 

There are six subspecies of tiger alive today: Bengal, Malayan, IndoChinese, Siberian, South China, and Sumatran, all of whom are endangered. The total population of wild tigers worldwide is estimated between 4,600-7,700 — a 95% decrease in the last 100 years alone. This has been due to excessive poaching to acquire the animals’ fur, along with large amounts of habitat destruction.

However, white tigers are not bred for conservation; they are extensively inbred purely for aesthetic purposes. While this does generate interest in the public, the genetic diversity is drastically decreasing in these cats, resulting in health problems such as crossed eyes, neurological deficiencies, cleft palates, and scoliosis (to name a few), if the individual is lucky enough to not have been stillborn. Additionally, these tigers are unable to be released into the wild, as the lack of pigmentation robs the animal of much needed camouflage when finding food or evading predators.

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This entry was posted in Science.

4 comments on “Meet Kenny, An Inbred White Tiger

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