White Lions are very rare lions found in the greater Timbavati region in South Africa. They are not a separate specie. This rare lion is the same as the Transvaal Lion also known as the Southeastern Lion, with a genetic gene mutation called leucism. The Transvaal lion is one of the eight subspecies of lions called Panthera Leo Krugeri. Leucism is a genetic trait that makes the lions coat from golden to near white in color as opposed to the regular tawny color. These lions were hunted to extinction in the wild and recently reintroduced by a non-profit organization established to protect white lions. Keep reading to learn facts about white lions; the very rare lion From Timbavati
The Global White Lion Protection Trust is a non-profit organization created by conservationist Linda Tucker, who has dedicated her life to protecting white lions. In 2004, they reintroduced the first white lion into the wild in Central Kruger Park in South Africa. The interesting and puzzling fact about these lions is that this genetic mutation only occurs in the lions in the Timbavati region. Although scientists believe these lions have existed for hundreds of years, the first sighting was not reported until 1938. And, they did not come into the public’s attention until the 1970s, with the publishing of a book authored by Chris McBride titled “The White Lions of Timbavati“
White Lions are a symbol of leadership and pride to local communities in the Timbavati region. These lions are considered sacred in these communities. I strongly recommend this book written by Linda Tucker if you are interested in learning more about them, their history, and what they represent to many who call them the “Lions of God”.
As of today, there are no laws against trophy hunting of white lions in captivity or in the wild. With the help of donations and by spreading the word, organizations such as the Global White Lion Protection Trust and others whose efforts are focused on protecting all African wildlife can work towards the goal of educating all humanity on the importance of protecting and preserving all animals. The IUCN designated the entire general classification of lions vulnerable with a decreasing population.
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Odds Of A White Lion Cub
White lions need two instances (Alleles) of the recessive gene to exhibit the trait. The odds of a white lion in the wild are as follows:
- There is a 25% chance the offspring will be a white cub if both parents are tawny and carry the gene.
- There is a 50% chance the offspring will be a white cub; if one parent is a white lion and the other is tawny with the gene.
- And a 100% chance the offspring will be a white cub if both parents are white lions.
Facts About White Lions
- The natural habitat of a white lion includes savannas, woodlands, and desert areas.
- They are carnivores and hunt for gazelles, zebras, buffaloes, wild hares, and wildebeests.
- Some argue that white lions have a disadvantage compared to their tawny family members when hunting. They claim that due to their color they are less able to properly camouflage themselves when hunting for prey. But the evidence doesn’t support this claim. Over 10 years of scientific study on the topic, and a documentary series released by PBS called White Lions, has proven the claim to not be true. White lions are just as able to hide and hunt as well as the wild tawny ones.
- Just like all lions, they have powerful teeth and claws.
- Most lions are social animals and live in packs called prides. In each pride, there are several females, the offspring, and one to three males. They hunt in packs and share their prey. White lions are found within prides made up of both white and tawny lions. Some lions are nomadic and prefer to be alone.
- A male white lion weighs up to 530 pounds and a female up to 400 pounds.
- The male white lion is up to 10 feet long and 4 feet high and up to 6 feet long and 3.6 feet for females.
- Their average lifespan is about 18 years.
- In the wild, the female lion, the lioness, gives birth to 2-4 cubs every two years. The baby cubs are born blind and depend on the mother for the first two years.
- White lions are symbols of leadership and pride to local communities in the Timbavati region. These lions are considered sacred in these communities.
- The Global White Lion Protection Trust currently reports there are about 100 in captivity and less than 13 in the wild.
- The biggest threat to white lions and all lions, in general, is the uncontrolled trading and hunting, other threats include loss of habitat, and loss of prey base.