It would be very difficult for most people to instantly identify Kenny as a tiger due to the broad face, short snout and the obvious dental irregularities he has got. Kenny was rescued with his brother, Willie, who had a completely different set of eyes that were crossed.
Many misconceptions exist about white tigers. White tigers are often considered to be endangered species by zoo keepers, entertainers and breeders; they are said to be in need of conservation efforts. However, this is not really the case as they are not even species in the first place neither are they endangered nor have they ever been in the wild at one point or the other in their lifetime.
As a way of obtaining the double recessive gene that is responsible for making tigers’ coat white, countless generations of inbreeding have been produced. The original white tiger is the actual parent of most of the white tigers we have today which are the results of this uncontrolled act of inbreeding.
With decades of careless inbreeding, the population of tigers has been notably damaged. Kenny’s existence came as a result of inbreeding whose parents are believed to be likely siblings of the same family.
Inbreeding has led to many medical problems one of which is the crossed eyes that virtually all white tigers are known to possess. Whether it is physically visible or not, they all have crossed optic nerves. They are also associated with spine problems and kidney issues and as such, they do not live that long like other tigers.
Statistics has shown that the probability of getting a pretty white cub that is perfect is 1:30. So, the question is what would happen to the remaining 29? Well, who knows… maybe they will be abandoned or euthanized.
These animals are commonly associated with many health problems, some are even deformed. Like Zabu who lives at BCR, she always looks as if she is smiling because she has got a missing upper lip. However, the reason for Kenny’s apparent deformities remains unclear. Unlike other white tigers, It could be that he is exceptional or one of the lucky few to have escaped.
Unfortunately, buyers of white tigers as well as its breeders continue to disperse the false news that white tigers are endangered species and that conservation is needed to save them from extinction.