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Dublin: 10°C Tuesday 15 June 2021

Tiger losing its stripes?

A white tiger cub in an Indian zoo is baffling visitors.

White tigers are extremely rare in the wild.
White tigers are extremely rare in the wild.
Image: Axel Heimken/AP/Press Association Images

THREE WHITE TIGER cubs were born on 6 June at a zoo in eastern India, and quickly became the zoo’s star attraction.

But one of them has become even more of a local celebrity, because of his unusual coat.

Although two of the cubs are white with black stripes, one is becoming increasingly black:

Senior zoo biologist Dr Manimozhi says that the cub’s colouring is dominated by a black pigment in the skin which is usually balanced out by a yellow pigment.

Some tigers are cream or white instead of the characteristic orange colour because of a recessive pigmentation gene.

Dr Manimozhi says that the colour the cub grows into by adulthood will be his permanent coat pattern.

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