November 13, 2007

High price to woo humans

What is it with humans and white animals?

Is it a subconscious purity thing, or nothing more than the firefly fun of a smidgen of novelty?

Mogo Zoo on the NSW South Coast - which hails itself as an "exotic animals zoo" (much in the way that strippers are wont to describe themselves as "exotic dancers") - is boasting that it has successfully reared a litter of five male white lion cubs, which it says is a world first.

White lion program a roaring success ...

Strange new notion of "success", all things considered.

Breeding for white lions entails inbreeding of close relatives and results in genetic and physical defects and infertility.

Bravo by jingo, hey what?

It's a tad depraved really, all for the passing entertainment of we humans.


  1. Anonymous9:56 PM

    Yeah, it's all a bit sad really Caz!
    What's the point eh?

  2. Depraved - well in a sense...

    But look, if these animals weren't the subject of human breeding programmes, they might be living a lion's life on the plains of Africa, which frankly I wouldn't wish on ... er ... John Howard or Kevin Rudd.

    Seriously, life for a lion in the 'state of nature' is a fate worse than death, as the less squeamish viewers of National Geographic's cable channel will attest. Solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short (certainly relative to these pampered beasts anyway).

    When you're not chronically malnourished, you're at the mercy of gangs of hyenas and other opportunists of the food chain. Which, in the latter respect at least, is a bit like life in a modern consumer society. But I digress ... sick sick sick...

    The fact is that these animals, like humans in a modern consumerist Howard utopia, have never had it so good.

  3. White lions rarely exist in the wild Jacob.

    Inbreeding lions in this manner and for this purpose - "for show" - in full knowledge of the physical consequences and infertility is depraved.

  4. Think of all the breeding programmes performed by humans over the eons.

    How, for instance, did such a genetic abomination as a chihuahua dog come into existence? And "for the passing entertainment of we humans," no less...?

    The chihuahua is an atavism, for the time being fixed in genetic limbo, of an ancestral wild dog. Whatever the down-side of the artificial selection process that produced these mutants, the life of the average modern chihuahua is a light-year's improvement on the solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short lives of its wild ancestors.

    The descendants of these white lions will give thanks for the short term pain and long term gain bequeathed them by their ancestors.

    As playthings of the dominant species on the planet, they will at least have a raison d'etre that their tatty, beige relatives won't have living in their anachronistic and doomed 'wild habitat'.

    Trust me. It's all for the best in the best of all possible worlds.

  5. This is swooshing the envelope over the edge Jacob.

    "The descendants of these white lions will give thanks for the short term pain and long term gain bequeathed them by their ancestors."

    Hmm, which part of infertile did we not understand?

    Yes, we have breed many species, for what we believe to be improvements, whether domestic animals or horses or carnations.

    The white lions, and other such novelty animals, are breed in the full knowledge that they are breeding defective, inbreed animals, which would, in fact, be rejected by their own kind in the wild, because they are "different" as well as infertile. Their short brutish lives in the wild would be brief and lonely.

    You seem to be anthropomorphicizing quite a bit Jacob. Grateful inbreed lions seems a stretch, even for the most anthropomorphicizingly amored.

  6. I'm not usually known for anthropomorphisation (hell, I can barely spell the wretched word), but okay I should have said the white lion descendants would be "grateful" (prominently in quotes) if they had the wit to understand how they came to be.

    Sure, infertility (among other defects) is a possible consequence of such genetic tinkering, as I'm sure happened with the production of chihuahuas, fan-tailed pigeons, etc.

    But not all of the offspring will be infertile, or otherwise significantly defective, so the unnatural selectors will simply breed from the most suitable progeny.

    It's all part of the grand plan, Caz!

    (By the way, have you noticed that Dogger, er Blogger, at last 'remembers' one's login so that one doesn't have to re-log in every session. Weird having such functionality, eh?)

  7. Re: Dogger - depends, if you use Gmail and are logged in to your mail, Dogger will open up without additional prayers being required. If this is not your particular circumstance, perhaps you mean the new functionality that also entails the Dogger owner NOT having to type in a verification when commenting on their own blog (what a stoopid thing THAT was!)

    Oh jeez. I think the less I know about the "grand plan", the better. Does the "grand plan" bear a striking resemblance to the Rudd Rapture?

  8. Anonymous9:32 AM

    The grand plan overarches both the Rudd Rapture and the Howard Hohum.

    Oh okay, I'll own up that I'm actually being a bit of a deranged devil's advocate here.

    In fact, I agree with your take that this is all just a tad depraved. The expense and effort taken to breed these kimbas would probably be better invested in helping protect the remaining habitat of real lions in Africa.

    Not forgetting, of course, that X hectares of lion habitat represents Y number of local people who'll be locked out of earning a livelihood from said land, etc.

    Lions or people... could be a stark choice. Yuck.

  9. Lion habitat isn't worth a lot in terms of "livelihood" for humans, mostly they kill of the lions and the land goes to shit.

    I would say: "let the lions have the lions share, by jingo!", but that ship has come and gone.

  10. I don't know about other humans, but I prefer black animals, like my black cat, Felix, and my predominantly black (and a little tan) German Shepherd, Elke.