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Rare white lion cub captured on film out in the wild

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Jun 14, 2018
06:41 A.M.

Although white lions are not unheard of, they are extremely hard to find and bear many misconceptions.

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Layle Bruce McCabe, a field guide at South Africa's Ngala Private Game Reserve, spotted and caught on tape a rare white lion cub.

He told National Geographic that he was observing a lion sleeping in a riverbed when he heard a lion cub's squeaky roar. On closer inspection, he discovered four lion cubs in the litter, one of which was a white in color.

The cub was the first wild white lion that McCabe ever saw throughout his 15 years of career as a field guide. It was also the first one for his colleague, Fanny Mathonsi, who was working in the are for 26 years.

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According to White Lions, these breeds are rare but not unheard of. They also cannot be classified as albino. Their fairer color is attributed to a condition called leucism, which causes partial loss of pigmentation in an animal.

The source suggested that leucism is an inherited characteristic where both parents must possess a recessive mutation in a gene that makes colored pigments. White lions are usually native to the Timbavati and Kruger nature reserves in South Africa.

The source further informed that the facts about how well these white lions survive in the wild are not known. It is estimated that only one out of eight cubs survive in the wild due to various reasons including injuries, lack of food, illness, and infanticide.

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“There is a lot of misinformation that’s been fed into society about white lions and what white lions are,” the director of Panthera senior lion program, Paul Funtson, told National Geographic.

He explained that white lions are not their own species or subspecies and are also not classified as 'critically endangered.' Although they are listed as 'vulnerable' on the IUCN Red List.

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