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Lucknow zoo takes up breeding of famed white tigers

     Lucknow: In an attempt to conserve the famous white tigers and increase their numbers, the authorities of the Lucknow zoo have initiated a programme to breed these striped feline beauties. Thus a couple, tiger Aryan and tigress Sona, are being tended with utmost care by the zoo. And no wonder, this pair happens to be the star attraction for the visitors, today. Talking to media persons on Monday, Renu Singh, Director of the Lucknow zoo said that the zoo has taken up this programme to conserve this endangered species of white tigers. "The population of tigers has reduced. They are highly endangered species, especially the white tigers. White tigers are not found in the wild (except Rewa region in Madhya Pradesh). They can be only found in zoological gardens. Our zoo's objective is to breed these endangered species. So, we are keeping them and looking after them. They are under observation," Singh added. The tigress, Sona was brought to the Lucknow zoo from the Kanpur Zoo in 2003. And over the past half a decade, the zoo veterinarians and the keepers did succeed in Aryan befriending Sona and mating. However, the cubs born to Sona did not survive as such this time the zoo authorities wish to monitor the breeding and also the delivery of cubs with additional care. White tigers get their colour, including blue eyes and chocolate stripes, through an unusual genetic condition and are sometimes bred intentionally as exotic zoo animals despite the risk of birth defects. The overall population of tigers has suffered in India, driven by a demand for tiger skins and bones in China and the Far East for traditional medicines of the Orient. Conservationists estimate that India is losing about 200 to 300 tigers a year due to poaching and other development projects eroding the natural habitat of tigers and other animals.
-August 11, 2009

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