Thursday, 13 September 2012

A trip to the zoo - Part 2

Here is another interesting animal fact for you. All white Bengal tigers in captivity in the west, including Hammerton’s magnificent white tiger Blizzard, are descended from a single animal. Mohan the white tiger was captured as a cub by the Maharaja of Rewa during a hunting expedition in 1951. Mohan was subsequently kept in a disused palace in the courtyard of what had once been the harem. Several attempts were made to breed further white specimens from Mohan, but due to the recessive nature of the gene which determines the white colouration, this was only successful when Mohan was bred with one of his female offspring. The resulting litter of four white cubs, attained the status of  a national treasure and the government of Indira Gandhi moved to prevent any of the white tigers being sold abroad. The sale of one of the cubs, a female named  Mohini, to an American businessman circumvented the ban by being presented as a gift to ‘the children of America’. Mohini met President Eisenhower at the White House in 1960 before moving to a new home in the national zoo close to Washington DC. Despite the tiger being caged, the former Allied supreme commander flinched noticeably when Mohini lunged in his direction!

Other gifts of animals to US presidents have included elephants, bears, lions and even a pigmy hippo.

For more Presidential pets see the slightly out of date link below.

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