Interesting facts about Baikal
Baikal was born in Zoo Parc de Beauval in France, shortly after he moved to Paradise Wildlife Park in 2011 before settling here at the sanctuary full time in 2018.
White tigers are not a separate subspecies of tiger. The white fur is the result of a genetic mutation called leucism, which is very similar to albinism.
As a result of having white fur, these cats are unable to camouflage, which greatly reduces their chance of survival. Meaning these cats are rarely seen in the wild, the last recorded wild white tiger sighting was in the 1950’s.
Baikal is renowned to be one of the most friendly cats at the Sanctuary, he enjoys being around people and chuffs to greet both keepers and guests all the time!
This tiger is a superstar when it comes to target training, he is very responsive and quick to learn. He gives a dental check and even presents his tail on request to his trainer Abi.
A big foodie! Baikal does receive his fair share of chicken drum sticks, he loves them. And his vocalisations make him the perfect big cat to get up close to.
Baikal is a goofy and relaxed cat with an abundance of personality. He is very interactive and loves to crush cardboard boxes and chase boomer balls. The one thing that is sure to make Baikal’s personality truly shine is his favourite toy, the big blue barrel. He loves taking them for a soak in his pond or even wedging them through the doorway into his den area and cuddling up with them in bed.
He can often be seen relaxing on his rock cave or platforms, soaking up the sun. He also enjoys his pool and has been known take a dip even when it’s icy cold outside.
. A fantastic cat who is also a very important ambassador for us in helping the educate guests about the issues around breeding white tigers in captivity.
About White tigers
There is a common misconception around White tigers, that being that they are white Bengal tigers, which isn’t actually the case. Whilst they are most definitely of Bengal or Siberian descent, they are a hybridisation and it is a genetic mutation, a leucistic gene, which causes the white colouration. So, they tigers are in fact the same as orange and black hybrid tigers, except their colouration is white and brown, they are not a different subspecies.
Stunning in their looks, they are quite often large cats and often have striking blue eyes, however, they are not albino. Rarely seen in the wild (estimated to be 1 in approximately every 10,000).
The White tiger origin was recorded in India with the last sighting in the wild being in 1951. This male tiger was captured by the Maharaja Martand Singh of Rewa and named Mohan – it is from this animal that all white tigers in captivity today are descended.
It is now against regulation to breed white big cats (tigers or lions) in captivity for BIAZA regulated members. The reason behind this is simply that the genepool is not sufficiently diverse, nor is there a co-ordinated breeding programme to protect them. It is therefore deemed futile to breed the existing individuals currently held in captivity.