“For the last thirteen years, an international team of researchers have been searching out any indication that one of the world’s most majestic animals, the Formosan clouded leopard, was still in existence its native forests of Taiwan. But now that countless in-the-field observation hours and thousands of infred cameras have turned up no sign of the rare species, scientists have arrived to a somber conclusion: clouded leopards there are extinct, and have likely been for decades.”
“Our research shows that the plight of the wildcat is now so serious that unless urgent and targeted conservation activities take place, its extinction due to hybridisation is a certainty.
“Recent estimates suggest that fewer than 100 remain, making it one of the rarest animals in the world.
“Unless decisive action is taken, the wildcat could be declared extinct with the next 12 to 24 months.”
“Shu-Jin Luo of Peking University and colleagues report in the journal Current Biology how they investigated the genetics of a family of tigers living in Chimelong Safari Park in Panyu, Guangzhou Province.
This ambush of tigers included both white and orange individuals.
The study zeroed in on the pigment gene called SLC45A2, which has long been associated with the light colouration seen in some human populations, and in a range of other animals including horses, chickens, and fish.
The team identified a small alteration in the white-tiger version of SLC45A2 that appears to inhibit the production of red and yellow pigments. This change has no effect on the generation of black pigment – explaining why the whites still have their characteristic dark stripes.”
I love white tigers. I really do. But is it really worth it to continue to breed them at the risk or their health? Something that could have fizzed out on it’s own? WHY MUST WE MEDDLE IN EVERYTHING???
“A number of the white tigers found in zoos have health issues, such as eyesight problems and some deformities.
However, Luo and colleagues say these deficiencies are a consequence of inbreeding by humans and that the white coats are in no way indicative of a more general weakness in the Bengal variant.”