Whilst exploring the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve in southern India, wildlife photographer Nilanjan Ray and his forest tour guide stumbled across an incredibly rare sight, a ‘pale tiger’ that was peering at them through the trees – and Ray got it all on camera.
The chance encounter with the wild tiger happened after Ray and his guide were driving and spotted what looked like a normal tiger about 200 feet ahead. Naturally they stopped but after a few seconds it ran off and vanished. They waited for some time for it to return however they had no luck.
They continued on but at a much slower pace, hoping to spot the tiger again, when all of a sudden they spotted something even more amazing – a white tiger staring back at them through the undergrowth. Looking more curious than it did aggressive Ray made sure he stuck around long enough to capture some amazing photos of the majestic creature.
Ray then sent the images you see here to Sanctuary Asia, a renowned wildlife conservation publication in India who showed the photographs to an award winning tiger expert. The expert stated that it was “the palest tiger I have ever seen on the record or heard about in literature.”
The tigers unique colouring is thought to be caused by a colour morphism, a a side effect from the mixed genetic pool that’s found in the wild. Zoologists also informed Ray that the tigers pale complexion is likely caused by Leucism, which occurs when there are reduced levels of various pigments including melanin.
You’ll be pleased to know that the exact location of the photos is not being revealed for fear of poachers targeting the area and cameras have been installed to act as a deterrent. You can see more of the photographers work here.