Captive freaks

Captive Freaks

Why they have no place in conservation

This time I will discuss animals or "freaks" that were created by human intervention. In this entry I will discuss two prime examples of this; white tigers and ligers.

White Tigers

Tigers have always been popular animals in zoos, the big majestic striped cats always draw lots of attention from both young and old visitors. There are also some zoos that keep white tigers. White tigers are often even more popular than the "regular" tigers.

June 2011, the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) bans the breeding of white tigers, white lions and king cheetahs in AZA-accredited collections.
Now why would the AZA ban the breeding of white tigers, while they are very popular?

They were banned because they are mutants, they are freaks. They are not albino like some might say, no, white tigers are leucistic. White tigers do occur in the wild, but only VERY rarely. In the wild, white tigers would most likely not survive due to their colour, their prey would see them coming from miles.

As far as we know there are no white tigers in the wild today, however there are hundreds, maybe even over thousand of them in captivity. The captive population has been created by humans.

Now you may wonder, how could man create white tigers? The answer is simple; inbreeding. Man has continuously been crossing father with daughter and brother with sister to create more and more white tigers. Unfortunately the white coat isn't the only effect inbreeding has on the tigers, no there are effects that are way worse. The inbred animals are generally very unhealthy and have to deal with lots of health issues. The same gene that causes the white coat causes the optic nerve to be wired to the wrong side of the brain, which makes all white tigers cross-eyed. Other common health issues with white tigers include club feet, cleft palates, spinal deformities and defective organs.

Kenny, a white tiger with deformities

Zoos and breeders don't want animals with deformities such as Kenny's. Animals like him are often killed or discarded. Often orange tigers are born during white breeding as well, only a part of the nest is white. The breeders only want the white ones though and the orange ones are often sold at the illegal pet market or killed.

Another lie zoos tell you is that white tigers would be Bengal tigers. This is not true, at first all white tigers indeed were Bengal tigers, but later they were crossed with Amur tigers to increase their size. Nowadays all captive white tigers are hybrids between the Amur and the Bengal sub-species.

But aside from the health issues they have another negative side, they take up space in zoos which could be used for pure sub-species of tigers (or another kind of animal) which actually are endangered in the wild. The aim of breeding programs is to create a captive population that can be released in the wild, this is possible with pure sub-species of tigers but the white tigers have too many genetical defects to be released in the wild, besides that they probably wouldn't be able to survive due to their white coat. 


Ligers are the result of breeding a male liger to a tigress. Lions and tigers do not co-exist in the wild, thus this does not happen in the wild. Ligers are freaks bred in captivity, which are bred because ignorant people pay to see them. Ligers impress those people by their size (most ligers are bigger than both parents).
Ligers suffer from many birth defects, which most of the animals to die young. Also because ligers are bigger than the mother, the mother is in great risk carrying the young, C-section deliveries are often required.
Like white tigers, ligers also take up space in zoos that could be use for non-hybrid endangered species, such as pure tiger sub-species.

What can you do?

There are several things you can do to stop the breeding of white tigers and ligers; if the public doesn't pay to see the animals, the breeders will stop breeding them, so avoid visiting zoos and circuses breeding white tigers and/or ligers.
Also when someone talks about white tigers or ligers and he/she says that they love them, link this person to my blog or to another article on the internet regarding the issue I mentioned above.

More information

I recommend you to watch the following videos, they basically summary some of the information I posted and also add some other problems regarding the "freaks".

Videos belong to AnimalMedia

For even more information you can also read this page:

Now if you have any questions or comments regarding the subject, feel free to comment. I will try to answer all of them.

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