The cub is only the second white lion born in an accredited American zoo
He isn’t even a week old, but this cub is already causing a stir.
The Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin, Texas, welcomed a rare white lion cub on Friday, born to African lion Adia, who does not share her cub’s coloring.
According to The Lufkin Daily News, this is Adia’s second cub. She gave birth to Sango four years ago. Sango was hand-reared by keepers because Adia couldn’t produce enough milk to care for the cub.
Adia isn’t having that problem with her second, paler baby cat, so the zoo is letting the mom raise the cub on her own.
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“Since this is her first experience rearing the cub, zoo staffers have been careful around Adia to make sure she is not distracted from her maternal duties,” zoo director Gordon Henley told the paper.
While Adia and her new baby nuzzle, Henley and his staff are researching white lion cubs. The director reached out to the Lion Species Survival Plan for information and discovered that only one other white lion has been born to an accredited American zoo and that lion reverted back to the species’s normal coloration in six months.
White lions are not albino animals. Their unusual coloring is the result of a recessive gene, much like the appearance of blue eyes in humans. There are hundreds of white lions in captivity, but only around 13 in the wild, since their coloring makes them easier targets for poachers.