Genetic Pollution of Tigers

Two examples of the unwitting, deliberate or reckless creation of the pollution of tiger genetics by cross breeding different subspecies, come to mind.

In captivity the South China tiger is cross-bred with the Bengal tiger sometimes. And in India there is a startling story of a British zoo supplying an Indian Bengal tiger reserve, the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, with a Bengal tiger that was in fact a Bengal/Siberian tiger cross-breed! The zoo, Twycross Zoo in England, did not know. They thought they would help out the dwindling tiger population in one of India's many reserves. Unwittingly they ruined (too strong a word?) the Bengal tiger population at that reserve. I have no idea if the tigress is still breeding in the Dudhwa reserve. She quite possibly is.

Some tigers showed signs of being Siberian tiger hybrids. These tigers have got to die in this reserve to protect other reserves. Apparently Twycross Zoo maintained no breeding records and had behaved irresponsibly. It beggars belief that so fundamental a mistake can happen at so critical a time.

And we wonder why the Bengal tiger is endangered.


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