After the recent much publicised arrival of Giant Pandas at the Pairi Daiza Zoo in Belgium the collection seems to have lost the plot. Pandas are rare and under threat in the wild and are part of a managed breeding programme. The press made mention of this so many times that one could easily be brainwashed into thinking that conservation was really important to them.
Well now they have brought in a young pair of White Tigers which shows the exact opposite applies. White Tigers are not rare or endangered. They are not even a subspecies. They may be beautiful but they are deliberately inbred freaks of nature.....no different really to a two headed turtle.
Maintaining and exhibiting (and worse still...breeding) White Tigers is not the role of the good modern zoo. It immediately marks out the collection as a Dysfunctional Zoo. This is sad
One of the newspaper stories covering the arrival of the White Tigers states "An exceptional animal since the planet currently count just over 200: only a few in the wild and all others in zoos and circuses, which are subject to scrupulous breeding programs."
This is incorrect as:
There are more than 200 in China alone.
There are none in the wild
And sadly it should say 'unscrupulous breeding programs'
In fact there is NO official breeding programme for the White Tiger simply because they are freaks of nature. Will it be White Ligers next?
It is when I hear about zoos going down this dirty road that I really start to wonder about the direction that organisations like EAZA and WAZA are headed. They really need to do something. Condemnation would be a good start.