Rare Tiger Species
“In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.” – Baba Dioum
|The animals at G.W. Exotic Animal Park are handraised from the time they are very young. They are given thousands of hours of training and constant care from their individual trainers. We have such a strong relationship with our animals that we are regularly able to go into the den box with the female tigers and assist them as they give birth to their cubs. This way, one of the first things the baby cubs see when they open their eyes is their human friends.|
Golden Tabby Tiger
A golden tabby tiger is one with an extremely rare color variation caused by a recessive gene and is currently only found in captive tigers. Like the white tiger, it is a color form and not a separate species. In the case of the golden tiger, this is the wide band gene; while the white tiger is due to the color inhibitor (chinchilla) gene. There are currently believed to be fewer than 30 of these rare tigers in the world, but many more carriers of the gene.
While no official name has been designated for the color, it is sometimes referred to as the strawberry tiger due to the strawberry blonde coloration. The golden tiger’s white coat and gold patches make it stand out from the norm. Their striping is much paler than usual and may fade into spots or large prominent patches. Golden tigers also tend to be larger and, due to the effect of the gene on the hair shaft, have softer fur than their orange relatives.
Like their white cousins, all golden tabby tigers have mainly Bengal parentage, but are genetically polluted with the genes of the Amur tiger via a part-Amur white tiger called Tony, who is a common ancestor of almost all white tigers in North America. The suggestion that this coloration is caused through the deliberate breeding of Amur tigers with Bengal tigers is a popular myth founded on this fact. All golden tigers appear traceable to one of Tony’s male descendants, Bhim.
It is believed that there are fewer than 30 of these rare tigers in the world, all in captivity.
Royal White Tiger
White tigers are a colour morph of any subspecies of tiger whose fur is white or almost white, though it is not a separate subspecies.
Compared to orange tigers without the white gene, white tigers tend to be larger both at birth and as fully grown adults. In spite of their unusual coloration, their size can be advantageous in the wild. Heterozygous orange tigers also tend to be larger than other orange tigers. Kailash Sankhala, the director of the New Delhi Zoo in the 1960s, said “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.”
Dark-striped white individuals are well-documented in the Bengal Tiger subspecies, also known as the Royal Bengal or Indian tiger (Panthera tigris tigris or P. t. bengalensis), and may also have occurred in captive Siberian Tigers (Panthera tigris altaica), as well as having been reported historically in several other subspecies. White pelage is closely associated with the Bengal, or Indian subspecies.
Currently, several hundred white tigers are in captivity worldwide, with about one hundred being found in India. Nevertheless, their population is on the increase. The modern white tiger population includes both pure Bengals and hybrid Bengal–Siberians, however, it is unclear whether the recessive white gene came only from Bengals, or if it also originated from Siberian ancestors.
Snow White Tiger
The Bengal tiger, or Royal Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), is a tiger subspecies native to India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan, and has been classified as endangered by IUCN as the population is estimated at fewer than 2,500 individuals with a decreasing trend. None of the Tiger Conservation Landscapes within the Bengal’s tiger range are large enough to support an effective population size of 250.
The Bengal tiger is the most numerous of the tiger subspecies — with populations estimated at 1,706 in India, 200 in Bangladesh, 155 in Nepal and 67–81 in Bhutan.
The Bengal tiger is the national animal of Bangladesh. Panthera tigris is the national animal of India.
The Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica), also known as the Amur, Altaic, Korean, North Chinese or Ussuri tiger, is a subspecies of tiger which once ranged throughout Western Asia,Central Asia and eastern Russia, and as far east as Alaska during prehistoric times, though it is now completely confined to the Amur-Ussuri region of Primorsky Krai and Khabarovsk Krai in far eastern Siberia, where it is now protected. It is the biggest of the eight recent tiger subspecies and the largest living felid, attaining 320 kg (710 lb) in an exceptional specimen. Genetic research in 2009 revealed that the current Siberian tiger population is almost identical to the Caspian tiger, a now extinct western population once thought to have been a distinct subspecies.
The Indochinese tiger or Corbett’s tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti) is a subspecies of tiger found in Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, and Vietnam and formerly in China. Tigers in peninsularMalaysia, formerly classified as Indochinese, have recently been reclassified as a separate subspecies, Malayan tiger Panthera tigris jacksoni. The “Corbett’s” name stems from the scientific name of the subspecies, Panthera tigris corbetti, which in turn is named in honor of Jim Corbett. No Indochinese tigers have been seen in China since 2007, and it is believed that the last specimen was killed and eaten by a man now sentenced to 12 years and imprisoned for the crime.
The liger is a hybrid cross between a male lion (Panthera leo) and a tigress (Panthera tigris). Thus, it has parents with the same genus but of different species. It is distinct from the similarhybrid tiglon. It is the largest of all known cats and extant felines.
Ligers enjoy swimming, which is a characteristic of tigers, and are very sociable like lions. Ligers exist only in captivity because the habitat of the parental species do not overlap in the wild. Historically, when the Asiatic Lion was prolific the territories of lions and tigers did overlap and there are legends of ligers existing in the wild. Notably, ligers typically grow larger than either parent species, unlike tiglons which tend to be about as large a female tiger.
The liger is the largest known cat in the world. Imprinted genes may be a factor contributing to huge liger size. These are genes that may or may not be expressed on the parent they are inherited from, and that occasionally play a role in issues of hybrid growth.