In India in the 60s, there were almost no white tigers. However, the strange Indians let a white male tiger mate with its "daughter" to reproduce. The result?
The white tiger is a variant of the Bengal tiger, and its most distinctive feature compared to the common Bengal tiger is that the hair on the body has a pure white appearance, the fur is soft and thick with black spots and stripes, and the eyes are usually blue or green.
Because the coat color of the white tiger is relatively rare, it is very visually striking and is known as "one of the most beautiful animals in the world". It is estimated that there are fewer than 250 white tigers in the world, mainly in central and eastern India, including Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.
This genetic mutation is rare and only possible to produce white tiger offspring when two Bengal tigers carrying white genes mate. Mating between white tigers may also produce white tiger offspring. However, due to the rarity of this gene, white tigers are very limited in number and are rarely observed even in the natural environment.
Legend has it that in the last century, when an Indian king was hunting in the forest, he found a juvenile mutant Bengal tiger with pure white eyes like amber and soft hair like snow. After bringing back to the palace and naming it Mohan, the king found an ordinary female tiger to mate with, hoping to get more white tigers, but unexpectedly gave birth to 4 ordinary tigers.
Later, the breeder suggested that the baby tiger born to Mohan and the female tiger be used to mate with the white tiger Mohan, and a new white tiger was born.
This is because the coat color of white tigers is determined by a gene, a rare recessive gene that has been mutated compared to genes associated with melanin.
However, "inbreeding" is not appropriate, although this breeding method can increase the number of white tigers, but also lead to the emergence of genetic defects and diseases, thereby affecting their health and viability.
Regarded as a sacred animal in India, the white tiger is a national treasure of India and is often referred to as the 'royal tiger', with close ties to belief systems such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism.
In Hinduism, the white tiger is often seen as the mount of Tawandra, the god of war, representing strength, victory, and war. According to legend, Tawangdra rides a white tiger and successfully defeats demons and saves the world.
In Buddhism, the white tiger is also regarded as a sacred animal. According to Buddhist legend, Buddha once rode a white tiger and spread the Dharma everywhere, bringing wisdom and blessings to mankind.
In Sikhism, the white tiger is seen as a symbol of bravery and freedom. The founder of Sikhism, Guru Gobind Singh, once rode a white tiger and participated in many battles, showing extraordinary courage and determination. Therefore, the white tiger is also regarded in the Sikh faith as an animal with courage and a free spirit.
In addition, India has traditionally regarded it as a symbol of wealth and good luck, and some royal families even breed white tigers as royal pets.
Their preciousness has also led zoos and circuses to flock to pack tigers, and their unique appearance and degree of domestication have made them one of the audience's favorite animals. However, these performances often involve brutal animal training and inappropriate breeding practices, which pose a great threat to the health and well-being of white tigers.
The white tiger was once thought to be extinct in the 1960s. However, thanks to the efforts of the Indian king Stamp Maharajah, they were rediscovered and protected. This also makes the white tiger one of the priorities of endangered animal conservation to ensure the survival of this rare subspecies.
At present, the condition of the white tiger is still very dangerous. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the white tiger is listed as critically endangered. Currently, there are fewer than 200 wild white tigers in the world, mainly in several nature reserves and wildlife reserves in India.
The endangered nature of white tigers is mainly due to habitat destruction and human activities such as hunting. With the development of India's economy and the increase of population, more and more forests and grasslands have been reclaimed and exploited, which has led to the reduction and destruction of white tiger habitat.
In addition, due to the rarity and high value of white tigers, they have also become targets for hunting and poaching, resulting in a continuous decline in the number of white tigers.
《The White Tiger in India - History and Conservation Efforts》
《National Geographic: White Tigers: Facts & Information》
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