Written by Selene Brophy
Singita in the Kruger National Park has shared a captivating pic of its Shangaan pride, which includes its striking white male lion, now almost two-years old.
Posting to Facebook, it says the iconic image was taken by Singita Lebombo Lodge guest, George Meyer. Singita first reported the birth of its white male lion back in 2015, 11th of July.
At the time of its birth, Singita’s Nick du Plessis explained that he could hardly believe his ears when details of the new additions to the Shishangaan pride indicated a white cub.
“This happens due to a recessive gene that is carried by both parents,” Du Plessis states highlighting that it also indicated where the coalition of five males who took control of the Shishangaan pride at the time came from – since the Timbavati section to the west of Singita and southern parts of the Kruger park are where this gene is most prevalent.
“What has got us so excited is the fact that both parents need to be carrying the gene for this to take place! Generally all the males within a coalition are related, and likewise with the lionesses stemming from a core group of females,” says Du Plessis.
And while many would think the white lion phenomenon is due to albinism – it is not.
Singita states a 1997 study by Cruickshank & Robinson determined conclusively that white lions are not albinos.
“They have blue, golden or yellow coloured eyes, black tips to the tail and behind the ears as well as eye-lining. By distinction albino would lack any pigmentation and therefore have pink or red eyes that are a well-known trait of albinos, and lack black tips to the ears and tail that are seen as following markers.”
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