Most people don’t know when they visit Myrtle Beach that there is an interactive animal preserve and tour just miles down the road. T.I.G.E.R.S., or Carolina Safari was created as a wildlife education organization, dedicated to promoting global conservation with informative, educational, and entertaining interactive programs. Dr. Bhagavan Antle works closely with international wildlife conservation projects in South America, Africa and Thailand. In addition to providing much needed funds for these programs, our personnel have been involved in field research as well.
Dr. Antle is widely recognized as one of the foremost animal trainers in the world, having worked with thousands of animals. He travels the globe promoting the education and conservation of some of our planet’s most rare and endangered species. Among these is, of course, the white tiger. Find out more about Dr Bhagavan Antle, his role in protecting the beautiful white tigers, and the history of the white tiger. Here are some great points regarding fact v. myth.
Myth #1 – White tigers are always the result of inbreeding.
* FALSE: Many facilities produce this color variation by introducing unrelated genetics to known white gene carriers. This increases the genetic diversity and strengthens the health of their bloodlines. Standard orange and black Bengal tigers carrying the gene to produce white tigers have been outbred in international breeding programs for over 30 years. Now white tigers in India have a longer life span than standard tigers and may soon be re-introduced to the wild. When 2 white tiger males are bred with any 2 unrelated normal color female tigers the offspring are normal colored. But when those two different litters mature and breed, many of the cubs they produce will be white. This is called outbreeding. These white tiger cubs are not inbred. No inbreeding is required to produce white tigers.
Myth #2 – White tigers are ALL cross-eyed.
* FALSE: White tigers, on average, tend to have no greater or lesser incidence of vision problems than standard color tigers. Crossed eyes are very rare in white and black striped tigers.
Myth #3 – White tigers suffer from a wide range of birth defects
* FALSE: Most white tigers are every bit as healthy as their orange counterparts, if not more so.
Myth #4 – White tigers have a much shorter lifespan than standard tigers.
* FALSE: The average lifespan of wild tigers is generally between eight to twelve years. Captive tigers regularly live into their late teens and early twenties, regardless of their color. Captivity lengthens the lives of big cats due to the lack of competition for food as well as the ready availability of medical care.
Myth #5 – White tigers are more dependent on their caretakers due to mental abnormalities.
* FALSE: This is blatant pseudo-scientific misinformation. There is no evidence of any sort – either scientific or otherwise – to support this idea. Variations in tiger behavior are a result of the personality traits and intellectual abilities of each individual tiger, rather than on their color.
Myth #6 – White tigers originate from a single inbred bloodline.
* FALSE: The Mohan/Mohini bloodline, which began at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. in 1960 is one example. However, in the fifty years since then, there are now several hundred healthy white tigers that originated from completely separate bloodlines alive and well in the United States today. That translates into approximately 11 generations since Mohan and Mohini. If all private owners had continued to inbreed their tigers as intensively as was done in the early history of Mohan and Mohini, this would be impossible.
* Inbreeding decreases survivability by comprising the immune systems and increasing genetic defects. Inbreeding continued at the levels described in the early history of the Mohan/Mohini bloodline would eventually result in extinction due to total loss of offspring survivability. White tigers are now every equally as healthy as standard tigers. They generally tend to exhibit no evidence of birth defects or physical abnormalities of any kind.
Myth #7 – White tigers are a hybrid cross of Siberian and Bengal tigers.
* FALSE: Siberian tigers do not carry the recessive genes that produce white tigers. Bengal tigers carry the recessive genes capable of producing four different color variations. – Standard, Royal White, Snow White and Golden Tabby. All of the white tigers found in the wild for the last 400 years have been pure Bengal tigers in India. Many white tigers living in the U. S. are pure Bengal tigers. Siberian tigers have been crossed into some white tiger bloodlines in order to expand genetic diversity and to produce increased size and strength.
Myth #8 – White tigers cannot survive in the wild.
* FALSE: White tigers have been documented in Indian literature dating back to the 15th century. Prized for their unique beauty they were often taken into captivity for breeding in royal menageries.
Myth #9 – Thirty to sixty cats must be destroyed to produce one profitable white tiger.
* FALSE: There is not one shred of evidence to support this claim. In order for these kinds of numbers to work out, there would have to be a breeding group of no less than 300 adult tigers to produce 5 cubs annually. No such large group of tigers exists in the U. S. or any other country.
Myth # 10 – White tigers serve no conservation purpose.
* FALSE: White tigers catch people’s interest with their enormous size and beauty. They are the calling card for the endangered species of the world. White tigers, as animal ambassadors, have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars used to directly support international grass roots conservation of endangered species.
Go online and visit www.tigerfriends.com/home.html for more information about the Rare Species Fund, the tour and Tigers Preserve. Come to see the White Tigers, a liger and other amazing animals in Myrtle Beach at one of the most exciting animal adventures ever. All proceeds from the tour go to The Rare Species Fund and The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species.