White Siberian Tiger

White Siberian Tiger

White tigers are not a separate Tiger species or subspecies; they are instead the result of rare mutations that can be carried along by normal orange coloured tigers. It might be tempting to jump to the conclusion that White tiger is a synonym for Siberian tiger, since Siberian tigers inhabit snowy landscapes where the white coloration would serve as a camouflage. The truth is however that the Siberian tiger is orange just like the other Tiger subspecies, even though its fur has adjusted somewhat to the winter landscape in which it hunts.

The existence of the white Siberian tiger has actually never been proven and the Siberian tiger population might not even carry the gene for white fur. When a white Siberian tiger is born, it is often the result of an earlier mating with a Bengal tiger that have caused the Siberian parents to carry the gene for white fur. The Bengal tiger subspecies is known to carry the gene for white fur.

There is however several reports of sightings of white Siberian tiger from the region inhabited by normal orange Siberian tiger, but nothing have been scientifically determined yet. Hopefully, future DNA testing can tell us whether or not a pure Siberian tiger can carry the gene for white fur. This would show us whether two pure Siberian tiger parents can produce a white Siberian tiger or not. A DNA testing project would however face a great challenge: a large portion of the Siberian tiger population has already been eradicated. Which genes those tigers carried, and how diverse the Siberian tiger gene pool once were, we might never find out. 

White tigers are sometimes erroneously referred to as albino tigers, but this is not a correct term. White Bengal tigers have black or brown stripes and the reports of white Siberian tiger from the wild all speak of clearly striped Siberian white tiger. If they were true albinos, they would not have any stripes at all. A pure Siberian white tiger would have brown stripes on a creamy white background. Since the captive bred Siberian white tiger is the result of mixed Bengal and Siberian heritage, it can have black stripes as well. The eyes of the Bengal and Siberian white tiger are blue and the nose is of a pink shade.

Since the gene for white fur is recessive in tigers, both parents must carry the gene in order to produce a white tiger cub. Since such meetings are rare, white tigers are seldom seen in the wild. Humans have however selectively bred white tigers from parents known to carry the gene and they are therefore quite common in captivity. White Bengal and white Siberian tiger is not included in official Tiger breeding programs for conservational purposes. They can however help their orange coloured relatives by making people more interested in tigers and willing to set aside resources for the protection of the wild tiger population. One example of a famous white Siberian tiger is Taj. Just like the other captive bred white Siberian tigers, he also has Bengal ancestry. Taj was born in 1984, at the Henry Doorly Zoo. After two years, he moved to the National Zoo (Smithsonian Institution).

More info on big and small wild cats:

Bengal Tigers
White Bengal Tigers
Royal Bengal Tigers
Bengal Tigers Facts
Jaguar Animal - Jaguar Cats
Black Jaguar (Animal)
Jaguar Animal Facts
Ocelot - Ocelot cat
Ocelot facts & Information
Siberian Tiger
White Siberian Tiger
Siberian Tiger Habitat
Siberian Tiger Fact
Siberian Tiger Information
Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard Habitat
Snow Leopard Fact
Endangered Snow Leopard
White Tigers
White Bengal Tigers
Baby White Tigers


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