Photo: Mayuresh Hendre | Shared by Parveen Kaswan on Twitter

There is no reason to rejoice at the ‘golden tiger’ of Kaziranga National Park in Assam, which created uproar in the social media just a couple of days ago.

The Assam Kaziranga University admissions

A photograph of a ‘golden tiger’ from Assam’s Kaziranga National Park, shared by IFS officer Parveen Kaswan, created buzz in the social media. The rare photograph was clicked by Mayuresh Hendre.

The officials at Kaziranga National Park, however, sought to puncture the enthusiasm, saying that there were three more tigers with almost the same colouration in Kaziranga.

In a report, the Deccan Herald (DH) newspaper quoted the officials who said that the golden tiger was an example of unusual colour aberration, and it could be due to excessive inbreeding, one of the main reasons for population decline among tigers in the wild.

“The biological reason of colour aberration may be due to excessive inbreeding caused by habitat destruction and loss of connectivity. The recessive genes are showing up due to inbreeding within a fragmented population,” the newspaper quoted a document shared by Rabin Sharma, research officer of Kaziranga Tiger Reserve.

Another document shared with DH by the park director P Sivakumar said the tigress — with lighter yellowish skin, lighter black stripes and more whitish expressions in the abdominal and in the facial region — was first photo-captured in 2014. She was camera trapped in 2015, 2016, 2017 and later also.

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The report also quoted wildlife biologist Kamal Azad as saying that the tigress was about two years old when it was first seen in 2014.

“So it must be seven to eight years old now. Normally, a tigress gives birth at the age of three to four years. So, already she must have given birth in the wild. So it will be interesting to see whether her colour aberration has been carried to her successor or not,” said Azad, who was earlier associated with the National Tiger Conservation Authority.

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