Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has written to his Odisha counterpart, Naveen Patnaik, seeking a pair of white tigers from Nandankanan zoo for the zoo-cum-rescue centre that is coming up at Mukundpur, near Govindgarh, in the state.

Mr. Chouhan said in the letter, sent on Friday, that Madhya Pradesh can gift a pair of normal (coloured) Bengal tigers to the zoo in Bhubaneshwar in return.

In 1953, a white male tiger was captured by Maharaj Martand Singh of Rewa princely state in Madhya Pradesh. This tiger, after mating with a normal coloured tigress, fathered white tiger cubs in captivity.

The breeding programme went on for long, and the cubs were sold or donated to various zoos in India and outside, the letter mentions.

The new zoo-cum-rescue centre at Mukundpur would have a breeding centre, which would be named after the late Martand Singh, to acknowledge his efforts on captive breeding of white tigers, Mr. Chouhan adds in his letter.

Nandankanan Zoo has three male and seven female white tigers, and the zoo has become famous for its successful breeding program, the letter notes.