A Chinese safari park has recently welcomed its newest and certainly its cutest residents.
Four white lion cubs were born at the Nantong Forest Safari Park in Jiangsu region, eastern China. The cubs, which are all males, are perfectly healthy.
The adorable cubs were born on November last year and the caring staff at the park will continue to look after them, until they’re strong enough to reunite with the rest of lions that live there.
White lions are extremely rare animals. Their very unique white fur is the result of a recessive gene called leucism. Unlikely albinism, leucism leads to partial loss of pigmentation.
However, the eyes, the lips or even claws, remain normal.
Unfortunately, these majestic creatures are not rare, but also extremely threatened.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, the white lions are an extremely endangered sub-species, with only 13 individuals left in the wild.
While it’s hard to predict how many of these gorgeous wild cats are living in captivity, reports indicate there are around 300 all over the world, writes natureknows.org.
So whenever a white lion is born, there’s a lot of enthusiasm!
Even their numbers suffer major declining, the white lions are not yet recognized as an own species, therefore they are not protected by law.
“The White Lions are listed as Panthera leo, which is classified as ‘Vulnerable,’ meaning they may become threatened with extinction in the future, unless trade is closely controlled,” the Global White Lion Protection Trust website reads.
The White Lion gene needs to be researched, understood and protected, as a matter of urgency.”