Thursday, January 01, 2009

White Bengal Tigers

A happy, healthy and harmonious New Year to you! Welcome to the first edition of my blog in 2009. I still have a few photos of Australia I'd like to show you but let's take a break from that beautiful land.

This posting is dedicated entirely to the stunningly gorgeous White Bengal Tiger. I'd like to be able to tell you I took these shots out in the wild, risking my life for photography. You wouldn't believe me though if you know that there have only been about 12 sightings of the White Tiger in the wild in the last 100 years!

These shots were taken with a Nikon 70 - 300mm zoom lens from the safety of Singapore Zoo!

Unless you live in Singapore you will probably not know that a few short weeks ago two of these tigers killed an employee of the zoo. It was entirely the fault of the employee who made his way into the compound and provoked the animals. They only did what is their nature to do. Unfortunately help arrived too late and the poor man died as a result of his injuries. You can read about it here.

Proof that as gorgeous as they are, they are extremely dangerous.

I hope you enjoy the photos of these extraordinary animals.

Next time I'll show you some primates


Unlike domestic cats, Bengal Tigers love water.
Already at 9am in the morning they were
enjoying cooling off. As you can see from the
first photo he did test the temperature first!

In the wild it is thought they have a life
expectancy of about 10 years.
In zoos it is often double that

The White Tiger is a good swimmer
but a poor climber. The Jaguar is the only
other cat that likes water

Tigers normally have yellow eyes. White Tigers
have ice-blue eyes

The use of natural barriers like streams,
rock walls and vegetation to separate animals
from visitors defines the "open" concept of
Singapore Zoo

White tigers are born to Bengal tigers that
carry an unusual gene needed for white

It is not an albino, or a sub-species

Two orange tigers carrying the mutant gene
may produce white offspring. White tigers
bred together will produce only white cubs.

In nature only one White Tiger is born out of
every 10,000 normal orange-coloured Bengal
tigers. But it is thought that only about 5000
tigers remain in the wild. At the beginning of
the 19th century there were about 100,000!

It is believed that if you are born in the
Chinese Year of the Tiger you are
unusually lucky

The tiger's forehead has a marking which
resembles the Chinese character 王, which
means "king". In Eastern Asia the tiger is the
King of the beasts

All white tigers in captivity in the world
today are the descendants of one white
tiger, Mohan, caught by the Maharaja of
Rewa in the year 1951

The night vision of a tiger is six times
better than that of humans

They have little stamina, so they use stealth
to catch any prey in their sights. They can,
however, reach a top speed of 60 km per hour
But if one came at me, it wouldn't need speed.....
I'd die of fright!

Unlike lions, tigers are basically solitary.
They come together for mating, when
sharing a kill, or watering hole. I hope you
enjoyed seeing the tigers.

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