London, July 7 (ANI): A snow-white Bengal tiger, born at a ranch in South Africa, has become the first of its kind to exist in the wild today after being born without stripes.
According to a report in the Telegraph, the tiger, named Fareeda, was born at Cango Wildlife Ranch, near Cape Town, South Africa.
Keepers at the ranch were delighted when Fareeda and her siblings were born on Christmas Day last year, but even more surprised to see Fareeda's rare lack of markings.
The six-month-old cub is so rare it is thought there are fewer than 20 tigers like her alive in the world - all in captivity.
Fareeda was born to two white Bengal tigers. However, while Fareeda's brother Shahir and sister Sitarah all bear the typical black tiger stripes, Fareeda is a one in a hundred chance of being born without the markings.
Odette Claassen, from Cango Wildlife Ranch, said that the keepers had to wait six months before they could be sure Fareeda definitely did not have stripes.
"Some cubs develop stripes in their first few months, but after six months, it's clear that Fareeda is truly one of the rarest of her kind," she said.
"When she was born, Fareeda had noticeably pale colour. It did cause a stir of excitement amongst the staff," she explained.
"But we knew there was the possibility of the cub's very light black and ginger stripes darkening over time existed," she added.
"My hope is that one day Fareeda and her kind can be returned to their native habitat and that is why it is so important to educate people about tigers and keeping the breeding programmes going," said Claassen. (ANI)