Meet Kenny, an inbred white Tiger with Down syndrome

Kenny is a white tiger that was ‘selectively’ inbred while in captivity in the United States. As zoos and exotic pet stores along with consumers have increased the demand for white tigers, breeders have attempted to recreate the ideal white tiger — large snout, blue eyes, white fur — by relying on a limited pool of white tigers that are in captivity.

What is clear is that Kenny was a victim of the greed of the breeding industry. White tigers are very rare. With so few of them, the genetic pool is limited, and inbreeding is an inevitable consequence. Kenny’s parents were brother and sister. Most of his siblings were stillborn, or died very young, according to Patricia Quinn, a spokesperson for Turpentine Creek Wildlife Reserve, where Kenny lived from the age of two.Despite the repeated deaths, breeders kept trying to mate Kenny’s parents. Although they eventually got two to live, Kenny and his brother Willie could not be sold because of their deformities.

The result? With such a limited gene pool, white tigers are born with an astoundingly high rate of deformities and health issues. For example, Kenny is mentally retarded, has significant physical limitations, and is considered the first tiger with down syndrome. The pictures, in many ways, speak to the condition that Kenny and other white tigers are in.Even in his condition he still looks adorable. (use next and prev to navigate between pages)


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