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Professor of zoology at Jahangirnagar University, Monirul H Khan, told Prothom Alo that these were Bengal Tigers and they were white because of genetic reasons. These were not albino or suffering from any disease. If they had been albino, they wouldn’t have had black stripes. Their eyes do not have the golden hue like other tigers. They are blue-eyed.

He said there are very few white tigers in the world. Nowadays in many zoos around the world, there are efforts to breed white tigers in controlled environments.

The white tiger was spotted during a special trip by the tour bus through the safari park one afternoon with the park’s officer-in-charge Tabibur Rahman.

Two tigers were roaming around regally and one of them took a dip in the lake there. The other, the white tiger, stood on the side of the lake, as if beckoning to the one to come out of the water. It did and they began playing and frolicking together. They spent the day in such lighthearted play, much to the delight of the visitors at the park.

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The caretaker Md Minto came up with the food van, calling to the tigers by various names. Visitors in another tour bus nearby were mesmerised by the white tiger. The tigers took on a rather fierce and menacing stance when the bus approached, only calming down after the vehicle moved on.

The park’s officer-in-charge and assistant forest conservator Tabibur Rahman said there were 10 tigers at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Safari Park, six of them female. Several tigers had been brought from South Africa.

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When a white tiger was born, it sparked interest and enthusiasm among the onlookers. The cub grew rapidly to adulthood. There is possibility that this tigress may also give birth to a white tiger.

The park’s wildlife supervisor Sarwar Hossain told Prothom Alo that tigers were born white due to genetic reasons. They grew faster and weighed more than other tigers. A white tiger normally weighed between 200 to 260 kg and was around 3 metres long.

* This report has been rewritten for English edition of Prothom Alo by Ayesha Kabir

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