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photographer Kristi Harper captures moment Bengal tiger plunges into water

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  • Stunning pictures were taken by photographer Kristi Harper, 45, from South Dakota, U.S.
  • She travelled to the Six Flags Animal Park in northern California to capture the tiger
  • Mrs Harper said: 'I loved the diving tiger show - especially the faces they made going after the meat'

By Leon Watson

PUBLISHED: 11:07 EST, 12 December 2013 | UPDATED: 13:05 EST, 12 December 2013

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This hungry white tiger has just one thing on her mind - the taste of fresh meat.

The fearsome creature was quick to leap into the water, her jaws wide open and razor-sharp teeth gleaming to reach the chunks of food.

Up close and personal pictures show how this powerful 600lb female tiger's fierce jowls rippled as she dived into the water for the hunks of raw meat her keepers tossed into the water-tank.

The White Bengal Tiger flashes her razor sharp teeth as she chows down on meaty morsels

The White Bengal Tiger flashes her razor sharp teeth as she chows down on meaty morsels

Capturing the action was photographer Kristi Harper, 45, from South Dakota who travelled to the Six Flags Animal Park in northern California to take the extraordinary pictures

Capturing the action was photographer Kristi Harper, 45, from South Dakota who travelled to the Six Flags Animal Park in northern California to take the extraordinary pictures

Yum: Kashmir dived into the water for the hunks of meat her keepers tossed into the water-tank

Yum: Kashmir dived into the water for the hunks of meat her keepers tossed into the water-tank

Capturing the action was photographer Kristi Harper, 45, from South Dakota, U.S., who travelled to the Six Flags Animal Park in northern California to take the extraordinary pictures of this rare white Bengal tiger called Kashmir.

'Trainers would throw meat out in a big pool of water and the tigers would dive after it,' said Mrs Harper.

'I loved the diving tiger show - especially the faces they made going after the meat. People were not scared as such, but they were shocked on the scary faces.

'Those who see my pictures can't believe they are real. They ask where I took them, and comment on how scary the tiger looks.'

Six Flags has been home to tigers since 1968. Now there are a total of ten tigers, including three rare white tigers like Kashmir. In the wild tigers are critically endangered.

Snack time: The beast cows down on a chunk of meat that's been thrown into the water

Snack time: The beast cows down on a chunk of meat that's been thrown into the water

Tasty: The fearsome creature was quick to leap into water, her jaws open wide, razor-sharp teeth gleaming to reach the chunks of raw meat

Tasty: The fearsome creature was quick to leap into water, her jaws open wide, razor-sharp teeth gleaming to reach the chunks of raw meat

Predator: Kashmir the white Bengal tiger getting her teeth into her dinner

Predator: Kashmir the white Bengal tiger getting her teeth into her dinner

This tiger can be observed in action - a large pool with glass walls was constructed at the zoo a couple of years ago to allow visitors to watch him gliding through the water with all the grace of a polar bear

This tiger can be observed in action - a large pool with glass walls was constructed at the zoo a couple of years ago to allow visitors to watch him gliding through the water with all the grace of a polar bear

Photographer Kristi Harper, 45, took these stunning pictures at a zoo in California
Photographer Kristi Harper, 45, took these stunning pictures at a zoo in California

Photographer Kristi Harper (right), 45, took these stunning pictures at a zoo in California

White tigers - the colour is caused by an unusual genetic combination - are rare in the wild, although there are several dozen in zoos.

In fact, although Big Cats generally do not like water, tigers of all types have been spotted taking to the water to hunt and even to bathe for pleasure.

This tiger can be observed in action - a large pool with glass walls was constructed at the zoo a couple of years ago to allow visitors to watch him gliding through the water with all the grace of a polar bear.

Tragically, within our lifetimes, zoos might be the only places left to see these magnificent animals.

A century ago there were about 100,000 tigers in the wild. Now there are approximately 2,500 adults, with the Bengal variety almost extinct.

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