Rare white Bengal tiger cubs unveiled at Saskatoon zoo
Two adorable white Bengal tiger cubs are the latest main attraction at the Saskatoon zoo.
All I have to say is.... 'I want one'.
Staff named the baby tigers Jasmine and Jafar after they were born on May 31. Their mother, Rani, was unable to nurse the pair, so zookeepers have taken over feeding and caring for the tiny cats.
They are now on display in the Children's Zoo section of the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park and Zoo.
Zoo manager John Moran said Monday the cubs are fed a mixture of kittens' milk and hamburger every three hours.
The amount of solid food in their diet increases every two days and will also include chicken and fish.
So far, Moran has scratches on his hands from feeding the growling, clawing cubs milk through a baby bottle.
"They're very aggressive," said Moran. "They're wild animals, and you've got to respect them."
Their mother and father are on a breeding loan from a zoo north of Toronto, where the babies will have to return in the fall.
White tigers are rare because a tiger has to inherit two copies of the recessive gene in order to lose all their pigment and become white.
White tigers do not constitute a separate subspecies of their own and can breed with orange ones, although all of the resulting offspring will be heterozygous for the recessive white gene, and their fur will be orange. The only exception would be if the orange parent was itself already a heterozygous tiger, which would give each cub a 50% chance of being either double-recessive white or heterozygous orange.
Compared to orange tigers without the white gene, white tigers tend to be larger both at birth and at full adult size. This may have given them an advantage in the wild despite their unusual coloration. Heterozygous orange tigers also tend to be larger than other orange tigers. Kailash Sankhala, the director of the New Delhi Zoo in the 1960s, suggested that "one of the functions of the white gene may have been to keep a size gene in the population, in case it's ever needed."
There are only around 200 of the white tigers left in the world. White tigers are an Asian species, found from the frozen tundra of the Soviet Far East, south to the humid jungles of Malaya and Indonesia, and west to the hot, hardwood forests of India. There are five living subspecies; three others are already extinct. Current estimates put the world population of wild tigers at about 5,000-7,000, the most numerous race being the Bengal race, distributed among some 18 tiger reserves and sanctuaries of India (and a half-dozen in Nepal and Bangladesh), accounting for over two-thirds of all wild tigers.
Tigers are a protected species all over the world. Even though it's completely illegal to hunt them, people are still slaying these beautiful creatures.
That just makes me sick.