Our Bengal tiger breeding program was started fairly recently when we purchased two white and one ginger (normal coloured) Bengal Tigers. Thus far we have successfully bred with the white tiger pair and 6 cubs have been born to date. The first litter of two cubs made history, being the first white Bengal Tigers born on African soil. The two sisters named Saphire and Shakira was born 11/06/03 and left us for another breeding facility in the Northern Province of South Africa. These animals serve as a flagship for their species, highlighting the importance of their dire need to be conserved. See our tiger facts.
All of the tiger species left in the world are endangered. In the second half of the 19th century eight sub-species of tigers could be found. Today only 5 sub-species of tiger are left and most of these can be found in zoos. Here they are bred to stop them from becoming yet another species on the extinction list and to create strong public awareness.
A century ago, an estimated 40 000 tigers (Panthera tigris) roamed free over an enormous area stretching from the Russian Far East, through eastern and southern China, south-east Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and into the Indus River Valley in Pakistan, with disjoint populations living in and around the southern reaches of the Caspian Sea and associated river valleys, and on the Indonesian Islands of Sumatra, Java and Bali.
Between then and now, the threatened extinction of the tiger has reached critical proportions, with the Caspian, Javan and Bali sub-species already destroyed. The existence of the surviving Bengal Southern China, Indo-Chinese, Sumatran and Siberian tiger sub-species continues to be challenged by poachers - who collect body parts for traditional medicines, aphrodisiacs and trophies - and, to a lesser extent, by the progressive inhabitation of man in tiger territory.
Tigers stand more than one meter high, averaging 3 meters in length, including a meter long tail. They weigh between 181 and 226kg, and yet they are able to leap almost ten meters across the ground and jump as high as three meters into the air. They are capable of killing animals more than twice their size, eating on average 31kg of meat per night. They are one of nature's most feared predators, and yet, they are bordering on extinction.
The call to "Save the Tiger" led to one of the most celebrated and extensive conservation initiatives ever undertaken in all of Asia. India's Project Tiger was launched in 1973 with the enthusiastic support of then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi International conservation organizations like the World Wildlife Fund and IUCN World Conservation Union rushed in to help.
Although the endeavor to save the tiger was off to a respectable start in a reasonably short period of time, the threat was - and still is - by no means over.
In 1994 India addressed the tiger crisis again, this time with the initiation of the Global Tiger Forum aimed at engaging the international community in tiger conservation and to bring about increased public awareness of the tiger's plight. The quest continues today
South Africa's most recent contribution to tiger conservation was the arrival of Rajah, a magnificent White Bengal male and Cher, a White Bengal female as well as Kiri, a white gene carrying orange tiger. Their new home, the Cango Wildlife Ranch just outside Oudtshoorn in the Little Karoo is internationally recognized for its extensive conservation efforts.
Established in 1986 by managing director, Andrew Eriksen, the Ranch has carried out numerous successful breeding programs and attracts interest and awareness from tourists and locals alike.
"Our decision to introduce tigers to the Ranch is in line with our policy to assist in achieving international conservation objectives with the maintenance of self-sustaining populations of endangered species in captivity. The extraordinary and awesome Bengal tiger is seriously threatened with extinction and breeding programs in captivity are becoming last-ditch refuges for endangered species.
The fact that Cher and Rajah are two of approximately only 250 White Bengal Tigers in the world adds to their appeal and gives us a greater scope to attract public attention to the tiger and their plight as an endangered species. We havethe opportunity to assist with the promotion of the conservation of the tiger through behavioral research, public awareness, and in the long term, captive breeding,” explains Andrew.
- Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) – approximately 2 000
- Siberian Tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) – less than 530
- Indo-chinese Tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti) – below 1 500
- Sumatran Tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) – 400 – 500
- Malyan Tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni) – unknown
- South Chinese Tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis) – believed to be extinct as not a single wild individual has been sighted for over 25 years
- Balinese Tiger and Caspian Tiger – Extinct