White Bengal tiger cub born at Nicaragua zoo

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media captionWatch Nieves being bottle fed

A white Bengal tiger has been born at a zoo in Nicaragua.

The female cub, named Nieves (Snow) is being raised by the zoo director's wife after the cub's mother rejected Nieves.

Zoo director Eduardo Sacasa said Nieves, who is just over a week old, was the first white Bengal tiger to be born in the Central American nation.

Mr Sacasa said that the mother, a yellow-and-black Bengal tiger who was rescued from a circus five years ago, could not produce milk to feed Nieves.

image copyrightEPA
image captionNieves' mother was rescued from a circus

Mr Sacasa's wife, Marina Argüello, said she was feeding Nieves warm goat's milk every three hours.

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The white colouring is the result of a recessive gene. Nieves' mother, Dalila, was known to carry the gene, which she inherited from her father, himself a white Bengal tiger.

They are now exclusively found in captive breeding programmes where they are sometimes interbred to maintain the distinctive fur colour. However, a number of the white tigers found in zoos have health issues - probably as a result of the selective inbreeding - such as eyesight problems and deformities.

Nieves will not be the only white tiger at the zoo near the capital, Managua.

In May 2019, Mr Sacasa welcomed the arrival of Osma and Halime, two white tiger cubs donated by a zoo in Mexico.

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