The white lion couple has been raising its 3 cubs - born in winter – under a complete news blackout up until now, but the little ones felt the first rays of spring sunshine and left their safe den to take their first steps out to the enclosure, following their mother.
The colleagues of our zoo held their breath as they were monitoring whether the babies born 8 January 2017 can stay with their mother or not, since one of our internet stars, Coconut (Kókusz) needed the help of the zookeepers to be raised.
Our worries dissolved into thin air during the progress of weeks, the breeding pair – the male specimen from the Netherlands, Inkosi and his mate, Binti from the Czech Republic – raises its offspring in a quite caring manner.
The two little females and the male cub are still breastfed, but within a month they will completely switch to meat-based feeding.
The „white” coloured animals belong to one of the populations of the South African (kruger) lion subspecies and their habitat is limited to South Africa, to the areas of the Timbavati Wildlife Park and the Kruger National Park. The shade of their fur helps ambush, since this region is characterized by white-sanded river basins and high grass.
This colour variaton of kruger lions is one of the most mystical animals of Africa, since its existence was only suspected for a number of decades. The South African aboriginals respected white lions as the direct emissaries of the godly world. Their habitat, Timbavati means „the place where the star-lions came to existence”.
It could be heard about these rare carnivores in 1928 for the first time, but they only gained public attention during the seventies, after the issue of Chris McBride’s book, The White Lions of Timbavati. This was the time when the world became aware of their existence, and thus when these animals became the desired trophy of white hunters. Their populations decreased remarkably due to hunting, the last time they saw a specimen in the wild was in 1994.
The number of specimens living in zoos and wildlife reserves does not reach 500, out of which two adults and now – together with the cub born last year – four offsprings live in Sóstó Zoo.