In this week’s edition of adorable and slightly frustrating news, a white tiger in an Indian zoo may be too shy to mate. Vishal, a 10-year-old at Alipore Zoo in West Bengal, India, is continuing to ignore the advances of the local tigress, to the dismay of zoo officials.
BBC News reports that despite being dewormed and given libido enhancers and vitamins, there has been no noticeable increase in his libido for the last six months. Dayanarayan Banerjee, a veterinary consultant at the zoo, told BBC News that Vishal’s “shyness” may be preventing him from mating with the tigress Rupa who lives in the adjoining enclosure. Experts suggest that as Vishal has been born into captivity, he lacks mating experience and simply doesn’t understand the signals Rupa is sending him.
Rupa has made several advances to Vishal, scratching his back and even chasing him, but so far nothing has worked. Maybe all Vishal needs is some dimmed lights and Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” playing in the background.
Banerjee also suggests that zoo officials may have missed their chance to mate Vishal with the tigress. He explained that most white tigers mate when they’re between five and six years old, with some seven- to eight-year-olds successfully breeding. It becomes a lot more difficult once the tiger is over 10.
“We chose Vishal because he is the youngest and physically the most well-built among the male tigers. But we cannot understand what happens to him when he sees Rupa. He runs away with his tail between his legs,” Banerjee told The Times of India.
It’s been several years since a tiger cub was born in the zoo and officials are eager to breed the tigers they have in captivity. Though the zoo has successfully bred a number of animals, which includes giraffes and zebras, breeding tigers is turning out to be a lot more challenging than they initially anticipated.
For now, officials are considering whether another tigress called Rani will get Rupa’s juices flowing. Rani is a Bengali tigress who lives in an enclosure a bit further away from Vishal, so officials are holding back until they can get approval to bring Rani and Vishal together. Will Vishal ever mate? Is Rani the one? And will Rupa get over this devastating rejection? Watch this space.