White Tigers in India
When it comes to tigers, the white Bengal tiger variety stands out from the crowd. But the question arises is how much they are different from a regular tiger and why? Well, let’s have a look.
The absence of pheomelanin, a pigment typically found in the fur of orange Royal Bengal Tigers, results in a white coat. White Bengal tigers, in comparison to orange Bengal tigers, typically mature at a younger age and weigh more. They also have a larger body size overall, both at birth and when they reach adulthood. White Bengal tigers reach maturity between the ages of two and three. Male white tigers can grow to a length of 3 meters (9.8 ft) and a weight of 200 to 230 kilograms (440 to 510 lb).
White Bengal tigers, like other tigers, have unique spotting patterns that can be used to identify an individual. Tiger stripes are skin pigmentation, therefore even after a shave, the animal’s unique coat pattern would be apparent. It is reported in the wild from time to time in the Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, the Sunderbans region, and especially in the former State of Rewa.
Natural births of white Bengal tigers occur once per 10,000 births because both parents need to inherit the rare gene for white coloring. The Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris) subspecies has long had evidence of dark-striped white animals, and similar cases have been reported in the past for other tiger subspecies.
There are currently several hundred white tigers in captivity across the globe, with about one hundred of those being located in India alone. As a result of their striking white fur, white tigers have become increasingly popular in exotic animal shows and zoos. The absence of proper camouflage, which reduces the ability to pursue prey or evade other predators, may also contribute to white tigers’ rarity.
Breeding of White Tigers in India
In order to know about the breeding of white tigers, let’s look into the life story of Mohan. Mohan was born with 4 siblings, and yes Mohan is not a human, a white tiger cub born in Bandhavgarh, Madhya Pradesh. Mohan was captured by the maharaja of Rewa when he was 9 months old and brought him back to Govindgarh.
Mohan’s journey was full of unexpected turns, he even fades death twice in his life but his will as a survivor kept him going. Mohan was first bred in 1953 and produced two male orange cubs on September 7, one of which went to Bombay Zoo.
On April 10 of that year, 1955, they produced a litter consisting of two males and two females, all of the normal coloration. The male was called Sampson, and the female was named Radha. They had another litter on July 10, 1956, with two males and two females. One male, called Sultan, was sent to the Ahmedabad Zoo, while one female, named Vindhya, was sent to the Delhi Zoo, where she was eventually bred to a male named Suraj. There was no white cub born from the breeding efforts.
Radha, who had inherited her father’s white gene, was successfully bred to Mohan. On October 30, 1958, the first white tigers were born in captivity to a litter of four cubs: a male named Raja and three females named Rani, Mohini, and Sukeshi. Mohini was purchased by German-American tycoon John Kluge in 1960 for $10,000 to be shown at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. as a gift to the children of America from Raja and Rani, who had taken her there from the New Delhi Zoo.
Places to find the White Tigers in India
White tigers are truly magnificent animals. For the benefit of those who are unaware, these animals are also known as bleached tigers. In the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, India has just lately introduced the world’s first white tiger safari. There are just four other places in India where white tigers can be seen except Madhya Pradesh.
Explore popular tiger safari tours in India.
Bandhavgarh National Park
White tigers were once called the jungles of Bandhavgarh, in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, their home. They might be seen pretty frequently in the Bandhavgarh woods and the surrounding areas. The jungle, which had previously been used by the Maharajas of Rewa, was designated a Tiger Reserve in 1993. Due to the excessive hunting and poaching, the last wild- -white tiger was Mohan who was captured by the Maharaja of Rewa and then used for breeding.
Sunderban National Park
Sundarban is already well-known for its enormous number of tigers due to the fact that it is one of the largest reserves in Bengal. Because white tigers have been seen in the area on multiple occasions, it has become a popular destination for people who are interested in wildlife. People come from far and wide to check out the location in the event that they happen to see the elusive creature.
In 2017, the Nilgiris became the location of the first confirmed sighting of a rare white tiger subspecies. A wildlife photographer from Bengaluru who was working in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve was the one who stumbled across the stunning critter and took pictures of it with his camera. The Nilgiri Hills, which are a significant section of the Western Ghats, are among the richest locations in India in terms of the variety of species and the rich biodiversity that can be found there.
Kaziranga National Park
The dense forests of Kaziranga National Park are not only home to the endangered one-horned rhinoceros, for which the park is famous, but also to white Bengal tigers. There have been multiple reports of sightings coming from this area. Even though it’s extremely unlikely, we can’t rule out the possibility that it could happen.
White tigers are rare to spot in the wild but one can visit zoological parks in India for sightings. Cities like Delhi, Lucknow, Mukundpur, Bhubaneswar, and more have white tigers in their respective zoos.
Problems with White Tiger Project in India
The White Tiger Project holds the idea of creating a sanctuary for white tigers in Rewa and breeding white tigers together. As the idea sounds noble there are some major problems that arise with this plan. The major concern is with the health of the tigers themselves, biologists examined and explained the consequences of the captive breeding of white tigers. Major health concerns are noticed in these big cats like a failure of organs, genetic disorders, etc.
Ecologists are particularly upset that conservation efforts are being undermined in other areas while projects of this kind are being highlighted. A significant diamond mine located inside pristine woods close to Panna was decommissioned by the MP government not long ago. The go-ahead from the MoEF is still needed, but if it is granted, the project might be catastrophic for tigers. The Ken-Betwa river connection project is another cause for concern because it has the potential to flood a significant portion of the Panna ecosystem. This could have a negative impact on the tigers and gharials that live in the area.
Browse our popular tiger safari tours in India.