White Tigers

Tigers are a wonderful species in their own right. They are elegant and
graceful, but at the same time are ready to fight for their right to survive.

Today, in a world of destruction and growth, these tigers have tough day to day
challenges they must face that are steadily growing worse as our society grows
larger. What challenges do these magnifecent animals have to deal with in order
to remain a species of elegance and grace and not just another history lesson?

Is it possible for these tigers to meet these challenges, to adapt to the rapid
changes in their surroundings? Can they overcome these challenges that have been
thrown at them, these challenges that are decreasing their survival and slowly
pushing their species to extincintion? White tigers are an endangered species
and it is said that less than a dozen have been seen in India in about a hundred
years. In fact no sightings have been reported since 1951. This may be caused
that the Royal Bengal tiger population has dropped from 40,000 to 1, 800 in the
past ten years, and as few as 1 in every 10,000 tigers is white (www.cranes.org/whitetigers.com).

White tigers are neither albinos nor a special species; they differ from the
normally colored tigers by having blue eyes, a pink nose, and creamy white fur
with black stripes. Tigerís stripes are just like a human fingerprint, meaning
that no two tigers have the same pattern of stripes. White tigers are not
usually born from other white tigers. They get their color from double recessive
allele. A Bengal tiger with two normal alleles or one normal or white allele is
colored orange. Only a double dose of the mutant allele results in white tigers,
and you can only imagine how often that happens (www.cranes.org/whitetigers.com).

The white tiger has long been the focus of human fear and respect for years,
because of its powerful muscular body, loud roar and frightening snarl,
revealing large sharp teeth, tigers spend all of their time alone (Thapar, 115).

Each Tiger has its own territory, which it marks by scratching the barks off
trees, spraying urine, and leaving piles of feces (cavendish, 696). Males are
particularly aggressive toward other males and in some cases fights result in
death of the weaker tiger. Their territories may contain 3 or 4 females, but in
most cases the area extends to over 40 SQ miles (dutemple, 15). Tigers are
nocturnal animals and prefer to hunt their food under cover of dense vegetation.

They hunt their prey by stalking silently through the trees in a low crouch
until it is within 66 ft (mcclung, 107). The tiger then bounds forward, knocking
itís victim over with a swipe of itís huge forepaw and pouncing on the
victims back as it falls to the ground (cavendish, 696). Tigers never creep up
on their prey in the same direction as the wind is blowing, doing this may
result in loss of their dinner (morris, 87). Once it has made a kill it then
drags the dead carcas under cover before beginning to feed (Morris, 87). As the
tiger eats it will make loud growling and snaraling noises to warn off the
predetors in the area ( Thapar, 52). If for some reason the tiger has to leave
its dinner before it is done eating it will cover the carcas with twigs to
ensure itís meal when it returns (Morris, 88). Tigers need to eat 40 pounds of
meat a day and will commonly cover up to 12 miles each night in search of prey
(McClung, 150). Tigers usually eat deer, young rhinoís, baby elephants,
domestic animals at near by farms, and occasionaly leapords (Morris, 88). Once
in a while, you know when it is in the moods for a snack with a little flavor to
it, it will eat a human being. Although this is much less common than you think,
tigers are actually very shy and try to steer clear from humans (Morris, 88).

Once a tiger has reached 3 to 4 years old, they are old enough to breed. Tigers
usually breed every two to three years, and the female is the one that goes
looking for her mate (McClung, 212). You see even in the animal kingdom females
still have to do all the work to make anything happen. That is not relevent but

I thought I would put it in here just for kicks. How the female searchís is,
she walks around leaving her scents on the bushes and rocks and waits for an
interested male to approach her. When the cubs are born, both the male and
female go their separate ways, and the female is left with the responsobility of
raising the cubs alone. The average time that tigers are pregante is usually,
about 108 days after mating till the cubs are born (www.noahsays.com). The
female usually has litters of about 3 to 4 cubs, in a special den she has chosen
where she feels she is safe. The cubs are blind and weigh about 2.5 pounds at
first, and they rely on their mother for everything (www.noahsays.com). The
hardest thing for the mother is to keep them safe as she goes off hunting. This
is one of the many challenges that the tigers have to face though. They canít
just sit in their dens and wait for food to come to them. They have to find it.

It is not easy leaving your cubs alone for hours at a time. So when the female
goes out hunting she will probably hide them in a cave or in between small
crevices in the rocks, where they canít be seen. Although this helps a little
to ensure the cubs safety there are large snakes, such as Pythons may still
sneak up on the cubs and crush them to death, then swallow them hole. When they
get older the mother will try to hide them in clumps of tall grass, although
they run into the same problem here as well with the Pythons (Cavendish, 697).

Snakes are not the only danger the mother has to worry about. There are also
leapords, wild dogs and hyenas are also on the prowl for an easy bite. So the
mother must always hurry back as soon as possible (Tharpar, 199). Even still,
after all the trouble the mother goes through to save her young, many of the
young do become prey. Even before they are old enough to protect themselves, and
only about 2 cubs will actually get the chance to become a fully grown white
tiger (Morris, 92). It is very important for the mother to keep the cubs fur
clean. The mother will spend a lot of time doing this to keep them healthy. The
mother must also keep herself clean. Any cuts that she might have gotten hunting
are cleaned so she does not get sick and die (DuTemple, 24). If the mother dies

The cubs will be left alone and will then quickly starve to death (tharpar,

200). White Tigers are not like most cat species, because they love the water.

Especially on hot days they like to lie in the cool waters and relax. When the
cubs are old enough the mother brings them to the water hole on a hot day to
cool off and play in the water (Tharpar, 200). To ensure their survival in the
wild without their mother, their mother will take them hunting with her. However
still to young to hunt, they watch their mother eagerly learning as the mother
attacks the prey. When she brings back the kill, they rush out to join her. The
cubs learning how to hunt is a key in their survival, donít know how to hunt
when the time comes to leave their mother they starve. While they learn the
techniques from their mother, the cubs practice theses hunting techniques with
each other (Morris, 92). The final stage in their rearing process is when they
are about 2 years old the mother will get up and walk away not looking back and
never return. For the first time the animals will have to fend for themselves
and make their own kills if they want to survive in the jungle (Morris, 92).

This is one of the tigerís most difficult challenges to face. Going into the
jungle alone without their mother by their side. There has been a drastic
reduction in the range of the tiger during the 20th century, mainly because of
the intense hunting pressure from humans. At one time the tiger was found in

Southeast India, Russia, China, and Southeast Asia, but at least 3 out of 8
subspecies of tigers has become extinct since then (www.noahsays.com). The

Indian government has made an attempt to conserve remaining tigers. Project

Tiger was established in the early 1980ís, using 830 sq. kilometers of the

Bandipur Forest in Southern India. It was designed for the protection of tigers,
but constantly handicapped by the lack of funds, the project has little to show
for its efforts. Park officials say Bandipur has 70 tigers now, but many
conservationists think that the total is less (www.noahsays.com). Some of the
tigersí difficulties have resulted from loss of natural habitat, and further
loss of their territories will lead to an even bigger drop in their numbers. One
of the white tigers greatest threats now are poachers. Poachers want parts to
sell for traditional medical substances used in some cultures, and also have
found a good market for their skins. Laws to help tigers exist, but they are
difficult to enforce when funds arenít available to pay for adequate security
forces (www.tigertail.com).