July 8, 2004

knock knock knock
"Housekeeping! You want mint for pillow?"
"No, I just want to sleep. Let me sleep."
"Housekeeping! You want fresh towel?"
"No, for the love of god, just let me sleep!"
"Housekeeping! You want me jerk you off?"
"What the--? What kind of hotel is this?"

Liberal recitations of Tommy Boy aside, this is my housekeeping post. I don't do it often and there usually has to be a chocolate of some sort involved as bait. So enjoy this while it lasts.

First item:
Get your asses down to the tiger post and bone ("She said bone." *snicker*) up on your white tiger info. Why? Do it for Roy. No, bad joke. Just do it because I'm in a bullying mood, that's all.

Second item:
You will notice, if you cast your eyes to the right and scroll slightly down, that a new section has been added to the Bloody Sidebar. It's called "immortal words" and it will contain... uh... words that are... immortal. Or something. *glares at whomever is laughing over in the corner* ANYway, beneath those words I will attempt to link to some of my more profound works hosted either here in the Crypt or off-site. So as to avoid the eventual dropping off into the abyss that seems to happen to everything I write here.

Third item:
There are things POOOOOSSTEEEEED THEEEERE! *singsongs and skips over to the Bloody Sidebar* Here *points* we have the Very Secret Diaries of Troy. If you clicky there, it will takey you to rustyangel's domain where the madness of the Troy Diaries has found a permanent home. Here *points* we have l'histoire du vampires. Or, for the unilingual among us, the history of the vampires. And here *points* we have The Frodyssey, the epic LOTR poem I wrote as part of Homie's poetry challenge. Sooo... yeah. Click and enjoy!

July 6, 2004

The Truth About the White Tiger

In researching tigers to fuel my passion for preserving their species in the wild, I came across some very intriguing information regarding the white tiger. I have a lot of conversations about tigers in general and white tigers seem to come up a lot. But are they a special subspecies within the orange tiger family? Are they albino? Why the fascination with saving white tigers when all tigers are in danger of entering oblivion? Suddenly, thanks to my research, I have answers to some of these questions.

What Are Whites?
White tigers are part of the Bengal subspecies. They are not, as is often supposed, an independent subspecies nor are they albino. An albino tiger would not have stripes and would have pink eyes. White tigers result from a rare recessive gene pairing and occur naturally only once in every 10,000 tigers. Since there are a mere 5,000 to 7,000 tigers remaining in the wild today, whites are not likely to be found there. In fact it is safe to say that white tigers are already extinct in the wild. It is also safe to say that since white tigers occur from a rare genetic mutation, they are akin to a human infant being born with six toes or cross-eyed. They are, to put it unkindly, freaks of nature. They are not a separate breed unto themselves.

From Whence Came Whites?
White tigers were prized hunting trophies in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Rare as they are, 15 were nonetheless killed between 1920 and 1930 alone. Occasionally a white would be captured and held in captivity for royalty. The most famous captured white tiger was caught in 1951. His name was Mohan. And from him all whites in captivity today are descended.

Mohan was the first captive white to be bred. He was bred to an orange tigress named Begrum but their litters were all normal-colored. It wasn't until Mohan was bred to one of his orange daughters, Radha, that a litter of white cubs was produced. It is through the inbreeding of fathers to daughters and brothers to sisters that the white line has been maintained. Today all white tigers reside in captivity for they must be specially bred to survive. And yes, that even includes the white that attacked Roy. All whites alive today can trace their ancestry, however distant the route, back to the great Mohan.

Inbreeding produces an effect known as breeding depression. Not unlike the pharaohs of ancient Egypt or even the more historically recent English monarchy, inbreeding to maintain bloodlines results in the weakening of genetic structure and defects manifest themselves in a variety of ways. In the white tigers breeding depression results in crossed eyes, spinal curvature, twisted necks, and shortened leg tendons. It also leads to reduced fertility, stillbirths, and a high cub mortality rate. Additionally, whites born in the wild would have a natural disadvantage as they would effectively be born without camouflage and therefore without protection of any kind. The inbreeding problems are typically not noted in orange tiger populations.

Why White?
The white tigers have a particular appeal for aesthetic reasons and their popularity drives breeders to maintain the line for purposes of appeal. Most zoos have white tigers proudly on display. While it's true that white tigers possess a distinct beauty and mysterious majesty, the wisdom of inbreeding a white line in captivity for visual reasons alone when all tigers are in such dire straits remains a heated debate. However, conservation of any kind of tiger is its own reward and certainly the research and funding garnered from the whites can be applied to safeguard all tigers.

White Future
White tigers appear to have a future only at the whim of humanity which puts them squarely in the same category as their orange cousins. While whites will die out without the breeding intervention of humankind, oranges will eventually die out without habitat and prey conservation efforts on the part of humankind.

credit where it's due...

Wild Cats of the World; by Mel Sunquist and Fiona Sunquist; University of Chicago Press, Chicago, copyright 2002


July 4, 2004

She was a thief.
You've gotta believe.
She stole my heart and my... cat.

So I Married An Axe Murderer
Drink from me and live forever.