Beastly Beat
Kumar & Hannah the White Bengal Tigers

Kumar and Hannah are Bengal tigers. Kumar was born at Wildlife World Zoo in Phoenix, Arizona on January 1, 2001. He arrived at the zoo on October 16, 2001 from Oglebay's Good zoo where he was on loan. Hannah was born to a private owner on January 1, 2003. She came to the Alexandria Zoo not long before her second birthday. Hannah arrived on December 9, 2004 from Tallahassee Museum where she was on loan. Both Kumar and Hannah were hand raised. Both Kumar and Hannah love to play in their pool in their exhibit. Unlike most cats, tigers love water and can swim very well. Usually the best time to see Kumar and Hannah is early in the morning when it is cooler. This is the time of day they are most active.

Since arriving at the Alexandria Zoo, Kumar and Hannah have had two pairs of cubs. Both litters of cubs consisted of one boy and one girl. The first pair was born on April 26, 2006. WillieKing (brother) and Meka (sister) were raised by their mom, Hannah, for nine days until they were removed and hand raised by the zoo staff. When WillieKing and Meka were babies they stayed in the Animal House building during the day so visitors and kids participating in the zoo's Summer Safari camps could see them up close. They also served as animal ambassadors for zoo education classes and special events. Once the two cubs were big enough, they stayed in an exhibit out in the Zoo. WillieKing and Meka are currently at the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler, Texas.

The other pair of cubs born to Kumar and Hannah are named B.B. King (brother) and Lanie (sister). They were born on September 12, 2006, days before the Zoo's 80th Anniversary Celebration. These two tiger cubs were sent to Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida in December 2006. B.B. King and Lanie even appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno in February 2007. The cubs' brand new exhibit in Busch Gardens opened spring 2008.

White tigers have white fur with brownish/black stripes and blue eyes; they are not albinos. The white coloration occurs when the recessive gene is present in the mating male and female. All white tigers in U.S. zoos are the direct descendants of Mohan, the tiger cub discovered by the Maharaja of Rewa (India) during a hunt.

The range of the white tigers in the wild is Nepal, Burma, parts of India and Bangladesh in areas of mangrove forests. It is not likely a white tiger would be spotted in the wild due to the very low probability of two tigers with the recessive gene, meeting, mating and having offspring.

Click here to learn more about Bengal Tigers.