Charlota did not have a good start in life. She was born in the spring of 2022 and most likely bred for the wildlife trade. Typically, kittens are snatched from their mothers shortly after birth to be hand-raised and imprinted on humans at an early age - so breeders can better sell the animals as pets or to circuses later.
Charlota was also supposed to spend her life as a pet and was bought by a private person at the age of a few months. But the tigress was lucky in misfortune! When the owner published videos of the white tiger cub on the internet, the Czech authorities became aware of the case and confiscated the animal a short time later. In January 2023, Charlota found temporary shelter at Hodonín Zoo in the Czech Republic.
Profit with the extraordinary
White tigers are a very rare variety of the Bengal tiger and are generally no longer found in the wild. The last known free-ranging individuals were killed or captured in the 1950s to be used for breeding.
Because of their unique external appearance, white tigers and lions have commercial value, so breeding and trade in the rare big cats are flourishing. But the price the animals pay is high!
The suffering behind the beauty
In order to obtain white colored kittens, both parents must carry a rare genetic mutation in their genome. This gene mutation affects the production of certain color pigments. The result is tigers with white fur, blue eyes, pink nose and pink pads under the paws. The stripe pattern is dark colored. White tigers are therefore not complete albinos!
Mating related animals for many generations is a common practice to produce animals with this rare color, despite the negative effects on their health and welfare. It is not uncommon for stillbirths, deformities, short stature, or other inbreeding-related physical traits and damage to occur.
Charlota's conspicuous squinting is most likely a result of inbreeding and a sad reminder of the price animals like her have to pay for human greed.
Charlota's journey to a new life
After her confiscation, Charlota was fortunately able to be temporarily housed in a safe place at Hodonín Zoo. In the search for a permanent home for the white tigress, FOUR PAWS offered assistance to the Czech authorities and immediately prepared Charlota's move to the TIERART Wild Animal Sanctuary.
On July 26, 2023, the big day finally arrived and Charlota was allowed to start her journey to Maßweiler. In addition to the TIERART team, Charlota's trusted caregiver also accompanied her on the 12-hour journey to her new home.
After Charlota had been able to get used to her new surroundings in the indoor enclosure for almost two days, she was finally allowed to explore her outdoor enclosure for the first time. Her initial uncertainty quickly subsided and after just one hour the young tigress was already playing exuberantly with cardboard boxes, jute sacks and sheep's wool. She even took her first dive in the pool.
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- I come from: illegal private keeping in Czech Republic
- My favorite food: beef
- I am: a playful and lively tigress who wants to discover something new every day
- Special characteristic: besides white fur, I have blue eyes and squint