Front Page Detectives

Wildlife Alert: Why Discovery of Rare 'Golden' Tiger Has Conservationists Alarmed

Rare 'Golden' Tiger in India Raises Alarm Bells
Source: Unsplash

The tiger’s unique color is the result of inbreeding.

Feb. 20 2024, Published 3:08 p.m. ET

Link to FacebookShare to XShare to Email

An incredibly rare tiger with a golden coat was spotted in India, and the animal has conservationists worried.

This unique tiger's color comes from breeding within its own family, which may make the animals' inbred offspring suffer health issues and could eventually lead to their extinction.

Article continues below advertisement

There are only four "golden" tigers in the wild and about 30 more in captivity around the world.

Tour guide and wildlife photographer Gaurav Ramnarayan, 25, saw one of these rare tigers recently. He was showing around two people from Australia in a car in a place called Assam Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve in India when they heard deer making warning sounds.

The golden tiger then appeared about 1,900 feet away. The tiger got closer and closer to the group until it was only about 200 feet away. Gaurav was able to photograph the rare creature.

“Initially when I saw him, he looked really white and didn’t look like a normal (Bengal) tiger," he told CNN, adding, "I’ve seen enough tigers to realize at the first glance that this one was not regular.”

Article continues below advertisement

The first golden tiger was seen in the park by another photographer named Mayuresh Hendre in July 2020.

According to the park, there are four of these rare tigers living in the area, and there are about 30 more in captivity around the world.

Breaking News

The director of the park, Sonali Ghosh, says the golden color comes from a rare thing in Bengal tigers called "wideband," which makes them have less melanin production during the cycle of hair growth.

Scientists at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore are studying the tigers by looking at scat samples and mapping their DNA.

Article continues below advertisement

Never miss a story — sign up for the Front Page Detectives newsletter. Be on the scene the moment news breaks.

These special tigers are so rare because only about one out of 10,000 tiger babies are born with white fur, and the golden fur is even rarer.

Unfortunately, the tigers isolation from other tigers and their habit of breeding within their own family can make them sick and cause problems like misaligned eyes, limb malformations, heart disease, and reduced fertility, making it hard for offspring to survive.


Become a Front Page Detective

Sign up to receive breaking
Front Page Detectives
news and exclusive investigations.

More Stories

Opt-out of personalized ads

© Copyright 2024 FRONT PAGE DETECTIVES™️. A DIVISION OF MYSTIFY ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK INC. FRONT PAGE DETECTIVES is a registered trademark. All rights reserved. Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service, Privacy Policy and Cookies Policy. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services. Offers may be subject to change without notice.