White lions are special lions but still belong to the genus Panthera in general. You may think this is just a common case of albinism, but they are not, they are a rare condition that leads to hypopigmentation. Their majestic appearance attracted poachers to ” chase ” which led to the White Lion’s extinction in the wild. They are currently bred and protected in special environments, overseen by the Global White Lion Conservation Committee (GWLPT).
White lion is a rare condition that causes a white color on the skin. They are not like animals with albinism due to lack of pigment. Other albino animals will have pink eyes and noses, but white lions have blue or yellow eyes, and the edges of their eyes, nose, and behind their ears are all black. Male white lions may have white, yellow fur on the mane and tail.
Habitat and distribution
The natural habitat of an individual white lion is quite diverse, they can walk from steppe, to savanna forest or desert. They are endemic to southern Africa and are currently under government protection in Kruger Central Park, South Africa. After being poached to the point of extinction in the wild, the white lion was immediately placed under emergency protection. The orders to hunt, sell, and kill them were issued in 2006. It is thanks to these efforts that we have kept a rare genetic resource, mated to produce individual lion cubs from year 2014.
Like other cats, white lions are carnivores , their favorite food is usually herbivores such as antelope, zebra , buffalo, hare, turtle… Restricted by color The color is easy to recognize, but with their divine teeth and “nails” they often stalk, patiently waiting for the right moment to attack prey in groups. Unlike the Leopard, which usually kills the victim and then drags the body to another place, the Lion in general usually finishes the bad guy and eats the meat on the spot.
Like their yellow cousins, white lions reach maturity at about 3-4 years of age. But now, most white lions are bred and born in captivity ( national parks, zoos ). Intended individuals may mate several times a year, but normally they only do ” one click ” in about every two years. Female lions usually give birth to 2-4 cubs / litter. Newborn cubs will be temporarily blind, living with their mother for the first two years.
The white mystery of the White Lion
As mentioned above, the White Lions are not albino, but they have a syndrome called Leucistic, or hypopigmentation syndrome, which is a rare genetic mutation in biological pigment. caused by a lack of pigment ( especially melanin-pigmentation ). Melanin is a pigment found in skin, hair, fur, and eyes. In this leukocytosis, they partially or completely lack pigment-producing cells called Melanocytes.
Due to their “rather white” skin, many believe that white lions are at a genetic disadvantage as well as in the wild. But in 2012, the nonprofit organization PBS (Public Broadcasting Service, literally “Public Broadcasting Service”) released a documentary called White Lions, which follows the lives of two white lions. and what they face in the wild. This video also publishes a 10-year study by biologists, proving that White Lions can completely camouflage and become the top of the food chain where they live.
Socio-cultural significance of the White Lion
In countries like Kenya and Botswana, the white lion is a symbol of leadership, pride and royalty ( regarded as national property ). They are also considered sacred to the Sepedi and Tsonga communities of Greater Timbavati, South Africa.