White tiger safari: Wildlife experts not impressed 05 April, 2016
Hype over white tiger safari in Satna district has left wildlife experts wondering. Union environment minister Prakash Javdekar and chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan inaugurated the safari with three white tigers, which wildlife experts call "nothing, but an aberration".
The hype and hoopla over Mukundpur safari, 12 km from Rewa, has more to do with public relations and power minister Rajendra Shukla, who has been instrumental, to quote himself, "in restoring glory of white tiger in Vindhya Pradesh," political observers said.
BJP leaders feel Shukla has attracted eyeballs in party by doing politics on white tiger. "He is now positioning himself as a leader next to the chief minister after a vaccum created by the exit of Kailash Vijawargiya from the state politics," they said.
White tigers are distinctive because of colour of their fur. The white colour is caused by lack of a pigment pheomelanin, which is found in Bengal tigers with orange colour fur, experts explain.
Former chief conservator of wildlife PM Lad, who was instrumental in setting up of Van Vihar where white tigers were also displayed, said, "This aberration looks good, but promotion of white tiger on this scale is not desirable."
"It is something abnormal, looks different, and can't survive in the wild. It's good as a decorative showpiece attracting people in zoos like Mukundpur ... beyond that it is nothing. Its promotion would not benefit conservation efforts of the white tiger. "
"White tigers are expression of recessive gene, a senior wildlife officer said. Some black tigers were found in Simlipal national park in Orrisa. They were caught on cameras fitted inside the park.
Such animals serve no conservation purpose but are popular exhibit animals and increase zoo attendance and revenues, he said.
The then maharaja of Rewa Martand Singh first found white tiger in 1951 and was named as Mohan. All white tigers in captivity in country come from there there.
Local MLA and power minister Rajendra Shukla got a pat on his back from chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan who said, "I give a free hand to Shukla for further development of Mukundpur safari." He said the safari would be named after the maharaja of Rewa Martand Singh.
Javdekar said, "There are 48 tiger reserves in the country, Mukundpur is a unique safari. This is not five star, it should be a seven star tiger safari."