White tigers are truly magnificent animals, but their story is not one of joy. White tigers are an abnormality caused by a recessive gene that some tigers have. In the wild, they are often abandoned by their mother as they are incapable of camouflaging themselves. This leaves them visible to their prey and vulnerable to the humans who hunt them.
The original white tiger cub, that had been orphaned in the jungle in 1951, was raised by the Maharaja of Rewa, who named it Mohan. When Mohan was an adult he was bred to a normal colored tigress the Maharaja also owned. Of the three cubs they produced, none was white. Mohan was later bred with one of his daughters, and the resulting cubs were white, like their father.
All of the white tigers you find in zoos, sanctuaries, and private collections are the descendants of this inbreeding. Current estimates are that there over 200 in captivity, but the actual number is unknown as so many belong to private collectors. In order to maintain their lines, white tigers are often bred back to their own family members. As a direct result of the inbreeding, these animals suffer from a wide range of genetic defects. In fact, every single white tiger is cross-eyed by genetics, although the severity of it varies, depending on the animal.
Solano is a white tiger who was born on December 3, 2001, at a backyard breeding facility. He was born with severely crossed eyes, and was deemed absolutely worthless. The breeders were intending to euthanize the tiger cub until the Center for Animal Research and Education - CARE - learned of his predicament and took him in.
When Solano was thirteen years old, his keepers discovered a growth on one of his eyes, and they began to worry. After a vet-check, it was discovered that Solano was suffering from cancer. Thankfully, doctors were able to stop the cancer from spreading, but they were forced to remove the eye completely. Due to the severity of Solano's crossed eyes, they theorize that he might even see better now that his eye has been removed.
Solano is one of the most beloved animals at CARE now, and people can’t help but love this ‘pirate kitty’ as he is affectionately called. Some of Solano’s favorite things to do include lounging in his water tub and playing with his tiger-sized ball!
Solano is a very vocal cat, and he loves to tell people how thankful he is that he was rescued from death - or being used as a breeding stud. Thanks to CARE, Solano is a beloved cat who gets to live the best life he can, while helping spread word about the problems surrounding white tigers!
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