ALPINE–A five-month-old white tiger cub has been seized from an unpermitted location in Louisiana and relocated to an exotic animal sanctuary in California.
The orphaned female cub, who does not yet have a name, required immediate medical attention for conditions consistent with severe neglect. She is now responding well to treatment. The whereabouts of the cub’s parents are unknown.
“Unfortunately, we see this all too often,” says Bobbi Brink, Founder and Director of Lions Tigers & Bears Big Cat and Exotic Animal Rescue, the accredited animal sanctuary where the tiger will now live out the rest of her life. “The exotic pet trade is a multi-billion dollar industry, often leading to illegal ownership like in this case. Many of these animals are pulled from their mothers when they are only days old. They are then subjected to very poor living conditions at the hands of individuals who quickly become overwhelmed by the level of care a full-grown wild animal requires. This in turn poses a very real threat to public health and safety.”
The tiger cub arrived at Lions Tigers & Bears on December 22, 2017, where she continues to receive ongoing medical care.
White tigers are not classified as a subspecies, nor are they considered albino. The lack of color in the animal’s hair follicles is referred to as leucism, a genetic mutation that occurs naturally in 1 out of every 10,000 births among Bengal tigers in the wild. White tigers in the United States can be traced back to one breeding pair brought to the country in the 1950s. Since then, white tigers have been selectively bred using various species of tigers, resulting in mixed breeds with the leucism gene.