Recently comments were posted on the FB page making various claims and accusations. These comments are typical of the type of unsubstantiated rhetoric used against white tigers in general, so I will use it as an example and reply to the claims made one by one.
I don’t know the original source of the comments posted, but that is not important, as they could have been lifted from any one of dozens of internet sites that spread their opinions about white tigers. Opinion is not fact, but these days it often masquerades as fact. In contrast, White Tigers – The Truth backs up the info given with links to scientific and historic sources.
- “cherry picked load of waffle” ? No. Like all writers, I use facts that are relevant to the article I am writing, and am continually searching for more facts from both sides of the story. This is not “cherry picking”. I believe the comment was referring to Recent Genetic Research, which consists mainly of quotes from scientific studies and articles – so how that can be termed “waffle” I’m not sure. I also clearly link to the original articles so that they may be read in full.
- “written by a white tiger advocate to use as propaganda” ? No, written in order to spread the truth and scientific knowledge (After all, I am the only person qualified to state what my intention is). What other people do with the info is up to them.
- Are the scientific papers I use factually erroneous ? No. I have not seen any proof of this, or any scientific research debunking them. (I did ask the commentator for proof, but this was not produced). Readers are invited to read these papers for themselves – Links are given here.
- “It is a known fact that there is no such species as a white tiger” – OK, I haven’t said there is. They are part of the Panthera tigris species. (The commentator’s insistence on this point makes me suspect that they haven’t actually read any of the articles or research, because none of those claim it is a separate species either)
- “they are not pure bred” – white tigers in India are pure bred Bengal tigers. White tigers in America are assumed to be Amur-Bengal mixes. Not a problem. Recent genetic research is increasingly showing that this doesn’t matter, that ALL the genetic diversity left to tigers is important, and that the species should possibly be divided into only 2 subspecies rather than 9. The discussion on that is ongoing….
- “They have various health issues” – sure, some white tigers have indeed had health issues – and so have some orange tigers…and some lions… and some leopards….etc. It doesn’t follow that ALL white tigers are unhealthy. If they are, someone show me the proof, please ? (For ALL, not just 1 or 2).
- AZA directs their zoos not to breed them – fair enough, AZA only has SSP’s for 3 of the subspecies of tigers and that doesn’t include Bengal tigers or mixed subspecies. This decision excludes white tigers , but doesn’t mean that other non-AZA zoos should not breed them. AZA also directs against deliberate inbreeding, which again is fine, as simple genetics proves you do not have to inbreed to produce white tigers. There has already been some scientific evidence that not all white tigers today are inbred, and there is historical proof of some of the outbreeding that has been done to correct the previous inbreeding (as has also occurred in AZA SSP’s, by the way). Again, please refer to Recent Genetic Research. As for UK and European zoo associations, I won’t comment as I haven’t researched their stand – however, there are many healthy white tigers currently thriving in Europe….
- “Only two type of people want them and breed them (1) an ego maniac or someone who has a narcissistic personality disorder and, (2) someone who wants to make money and or both (1) and (2). “ – Oh dear, where is the proof of that ! People who are sure of their facts do not have to resort to insults like this. For the record, I have not been diagnosed as an ego maniac or NPD and I am not making money out of this.
- “people such as W.T. – T & M have a deep passion for their myth hype making that they adore the likes of Doc Antil, Joe Exotic, Siegfried & Roy” – sorry to those people listed, but no, I don’t “adore” you at all. I do have a deep passion for the truth, and the discoveries of science.
- The “American Scientific Article…is biased…full of inaccurate pseudo science… has been debunked..” No. The Scientific American article is based on genuine scientific research by genetic experts and has certainly not been debunked. (I ask for someone to supply me with the scientific research they claim has debunked it, but no one seems to be able to. Apparently they think it is enough to just “say so”)
- The links posted by the commentator are mostly old opinion pieces based on outdated information – except for the last link which surprisingly is to the 2013 study by Luo et al (author of the Scientific American article) – which the commentator does not appear to have actually read! References to inbreeding are pre-1980 and no one denies that there was indeed some inbreeding in the history of white tigers. But inbreeding can, and has been corrected with outcrossing – just as has been done in the AZA SSP’s.
I realize it is not easy for people to change their opinions once they have been formed, and it is easier for them to just dismiss new information or declare it “wrong” when it doesn’t agree with their mindset or what they believe they know. That’s their choice, I do not force info or opinions onto anyone, or insist they must agree with me. I simply present the facts, in context, and allow others to make up their own minds.
Fortunately, many more people are able to continue to learn and take new facts on board as they emerge. Which is a good thing in this age of continuing scientific discovery.
Debating facts is a good thing, it can make people think and broaden their knowledge. However, debating on the basis of opinion only is a fruitless affair and a waste of time. I invite people to explore the Facts tab articles and the archives of this page, to learn, think, and form your own opinions from the facts. More info will be added as time permits.
One thing we should always be very aware of is how little we actually do know about the tiger. This magnificent big cat has been around for about 2 million years, evolving and adapting throughout many climate and ecosystem changes – yet we have only studied it for about the last 50 years. A mere moment in its history ! How much more there is still for us to learn.