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Education

White Tigers of Rewa

Long ago and far away there was a prince who hunted tigers. In those days there were many tigers, and killing them was called sport. Man did not understand tigers then. They were beautiful, but he feared them. And man must kill that which is beautiful, and that which he fears. And Mother Earth wept

The most famous white tiger was captured in 1951 and obtained by his ex-Highness of Rewa, Shri Martand Singh. 

During a hunt, the beaters drove a mother tigress into the machan where she was instantly shot. Then four cubs walked into the machan. One was white. Shots rang out and three cubs were dead, but the white cub had not been shot and escaped. The following day the Maharaja, seeing the opportunity for great profit, had the white cub found, captured, and brought it to his palace.

In 1953 a normal colored female was captured to provide a mate for the white tiger, who had been named Mohan. She was named Begum.

Mohan and Begum had three litters of cubs; two in the first and four each in the next two. All the cubs were normal colored. Determined to have white cubs, the Maharaja then began a breeding program guaranteed to produce them. He bred Mohan with Radha, Mohan's daughter from the second litter.

Mohan and Radha had three litters. The first litter produced four white tigers - one male and three females. The second litter was one normal (colored) female and two white males. The third produced four white cubs, two of which died.

Now things start to get a little complicated. Mohan and Radha, who were father and daughter, had produced in their second litter Niladari, a white male, and Malini, a colored female but white gene carrier. So this brother and sister (from the same litter) who were the offspring of a father and daughter, were bred together. They produced seven litters of cubs. Many were white, but several were stillborn or died shortly after birth, as could be expected at this point.

After this, many more white tigers were produced from inbreeding; parent to sibling and sibling to sibling. Many died or had to be destroyed because of deformities.

In 1960 the Radio Corporation of America purchased Mohini and donated her to the National Zoo in Washington, DC. Mohini's parents were Mohan and Radha. Her mother and her sister were one and the same.Now the action moves to the United States.

Mohini was the first white tiger to come to the United States and was of great celebrity. She was even visited by President Eisenhower. Of course, other zoos then wanted white tigers, too. And they were worth a lot of money.

Mohini was mated here with Sampson, her normal colored half-brother. Their first litter produced one white cub and two normal colored cubs. Only the colored male, Ramana, survived. The second litter produced two cubs but neither were white. One was stillborn but the female, Kesari survived.

Mohini, who had been born to her father and her sister, was now mated with her son, Ramana. Their first litter was Rawati, a white female, and a colored male who died. The next litter produced two white and three colored cubs. One was stillborn, three were said to be crushed by the mother, and Moni survived.

Then brother and sister, Ramana and Kesari, whose mother's father was also her grandfather, and whose father was the brother of their grandmother, were mated. They produced three white and one colored cub.

Kesari was then mated with Poona, who was from an outside gene pool. They produced six colored cubs. All died but one. Who could blame them.

It is obvious why many white tigers of the Mohan line carry the genes for not only white coats and blue eyes, but also crossed eyes, hip and back problems, shunts and malformities.

Most of the white tigers in the United States today came from this bloodline. From National Zoo they went to other zoos, major attractions and exhibitions.

It is not generally acknowledged, but we think there is more than one bloodline of white tigers in the United States. We know that tigers have different shapes, sizes, colors and shades of color - just like people. And it is controlled by gene groups, just like people. If your mother had big thighs, you probably do, too. (Sorry)

The Mohan line of white tigers in this country is identifiable in the same way by the characteristics dictated by their gene groups. They are shorter in length. They have shorter faces. Their back slopes more sharply from their hip joints to the base of their tail. They have fewer stripes on their shoulders. This is true even in the standard colored tigers from the Mohan line.

The other line of white tigers has different physical characteristics. They are longer in length, never any crossed eyes, no hip or back problems, no deformed cubs, their backs are straight, their faces are longer, and their stripes are darker.

In general, these tigers are typical of the Bengal tigers seen in the wild.

What is this bloodline? Who knows? It could even be the Rewa bloodline but not corrupted by the inbreeding as the Mohan line is.

We do know there were tigers in this country before 1951, when Mohan was captured. We also know, evidenced from the sightings and even the many white tiger skins the Maharaja's had, that there were many white tigers in India prior to Mohan. White tigers have been spotted as recently as within the last twenty years in India.

The only requirement for another white tiger bloodline would be two tigers who carried the white gene. It would be terribly presumptuous for us to think that Mohan's mother and father were the only tigers who carried the white gene.



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