White Lions

White Lions - Page 1&2: The New Discovery | 3: Conservation Status | 4: White Lion Breeding |
5: A Description Of The White Lion

The white lion today:

A number of lions within Timbavati Game Reserve have been killed by poachers, and the African lion as a whole has been decimated due to the loss of their natural habitat. However, several lions still survive from the original strain, all in captivity:

    • One heterozygous male in Pretoria. (A heterozygous lion is tawny, but carries the gene for white colouring and when partnered correctly may pass this onto offspring. The original example of this was Vela).

  • Two heterozygous males. Originally at Cincinnati Zoo they are now at a private reserve in Africa.
  • One white female and a heterozygous male located at the Zoological Animal Reproduction Center in Indiana.  This facility did hold a second female from the original strain, unfortunately she was killed by the other female while on loan to a zoo.
Conservation status:

Firstly, it should be understood that the white lion is not a separate subspecies from the African lion, so any discussion of conservation status must encompass the entire African lion population.

Lions are generally viewed by the local population as being a threat to villagers and a danger to domestic stock. Some of the lions primary prey species are migratory and during lean times the pride will turn to attacking cattle. This makes them unpopular among the locals. As lions scavenge they are made susceptible to poisoning from carcasses laid to eliminate predators.

The lion is now considered to be of conservation concern, with the American Zoo and Aquarium Association managing a Species Survival Program for the African lion. This SSP was one of the more recent to be developed and a worrying outcome was the discovery in 1992 that only two captive lions can be traced back to wild founders in Africa. The heritage of all other African lions, (except for a few imported in recent times), remains unknown or uncertain, meaning they cannot be listed in the species studbook. Only animals with ancestors which can be traced back to the wild are accepted into the breeding programme. This is to significantly reduce any chance of genetic pollution.

White Lions - Page 1&2: The New Discovery | 3: Conservation Status | 4: White Lion Breeding |
5: A Description Of The White Lion

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Photography With Thanks To Art Slack
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