In a rare experiment, four cubs were born after the successful mating of a Royal Bengal tiger with a white tigress at Kamla Nehru Zoo in Indore.
Shivani, a three-and-a-half-year-old white tigress, born and raised in Indore zoo, gave birth to four cubs on Friday morning. However, one cub died while the tigress was carrying it from one place to another. The remaining three are in good health.
"This is for the first time in the history of Madhya Pradesh that a Royal Bengal tiger named as Jeevan successfully mated with a white tigress, Shivani," zoo in-charge, Dr Uttam Yadav said.
With three newborn cubs, the total number of white tigers in Indore increased to eight including five cubs and three female tigresses. All five cubs were born at Indore zoo.
Shivani was brought to Indore in 2006 from Aurangabad under an exchange scheme. It was paired with B1, a four-year-old Royal Bengal tiger. B1 was brought from Bhopal’s Van Vihar to Indore's Kamla Nehru Zoo in 2010.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Dr Yadav said Shivani gave birth to four cubs but one died. Dr Yadav further said, "White tigers reach sexual maturity when they are about four years old. On an average, one to six cubs are produced in a litter. Compared to normal tigers, white tigers tend to be larger at birth as well as in adulthood."
(With inputs from PTI)