What makes White Tigers White?

Sarahi, Journalist

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






     White tigers are fascinating creatures. They are beautiful with their white fur. However, where does the white color come from? Some people believe that white tigers are a seperate species to that of an ordinary tiger but the truth is that it’s a genetic mutation. They are in reality bengal tigers. Their fur is white because it’s caused by the lack of pigment pheomelanin, which is found in bengal tigers. This is called leucism.

This is a very rare mutation. In the wild, 1 in 10,000 tigers will be born white. It’s difficult for white tigers to survive in the wild as hunting becomes difficult since they do not have the ordinary tiger color.  The prey will be able to spot them easily which’ll reduce their food supply, resulting in their untimely death. The last known wild white tiger was shot in 1958. They are now mostly found in captivity.

According to Huffpost, most of the white tigers in captivity are “highly inbred” hybrids of Bengal and Siberian tigers. Zoos are only able to make more white tigers by inbreeding them. According to big cat rescue, “to produce a white tiger in captivity is through inbreeding with brother to sister, father to daughter, and mother to son and they don’t do it to help the endangered species, they do it for money.”  It attracts more visitors but causes severe health problems such as cleft palates, scoliosis, mental impairments, and cross eyes. We need to stop breeding white tigers for money. We need to help them and properly care for them instead of using them as a display.

Sources: https://www.quora.com/Why-are-white-tigers-white https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/white-tiger-cubs-yalta-zoo_us_561c23eee4b050c6c4a283

d8https://bigcatrescue.org/abuse-issues/issues/white-tigers/