Introducing Nieves...

By Cailey Rizzo
January 06, 2021
Advertisement
Credit: INTI OCON/AFP via Getty

An adorable newborn white Bengal tiger cub just made its public debut at the Zoológico Nacional de Nicaragua.

The newborn is named Nieves (meaning "Snow") is just over a week old and is the first white Bengal tiger to be born in Nicaragua, , The BBC reported.

Nieves is being raised by Marina Argüello, the wife of the zoo director, who helps rehabilitate animals. The cub was reportedly rejected by her mother, Dalia, a yellow-and-black Bengal tiger who was rescued from a circus five years ago and could not produce milk to feed the cub. 

Argüello feeds Nieves formula three times a day through a bottle while sitting on a rocking chair. 

Nieves' white coloring is the result of a recessive gene, which was carried through Dalila whose father was a white Bengal tiger.

The white Bengal tiger is incredibly rare, with none left in the wild. There are fewer than 200 remaining in the world, all of whom are found in captive breeding programs. In order to maintain the distinctive white fur color, the animals are sometimes interbred. As a result, many are born with health issues, like eye problems or deformities. 

Although Nieves is the first white tiger born in Nicaragua, she is not the only one at the zoo. Last year, two white tiger cubs named Osma and Halime were donated to the Zoológico Nacional de Nicaragua from a zoo in Mexico. 

The zoo has more than 700 animals and runs a rehabilitation and breeding program from animals like tigers, jaguars and monkeys. 

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at caileyrizzo.com.