A doggy blog written by a clever little chihuahua.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Yesterday I learned that there is such a thing as a white lion. I had heard of white elephants and white tigers before, but I never heard of a white lion. The way I found out about these lions was that Mom saw a little article in the newspaper yesterday morning, and she showed it to me. The article said that 4 white lion cubs were born Monday at the zoo in Belgrade, Serbia. The mother of the cubs is also a white lion, and now she is busy nursing her babies. The zoo also has 2 other adult white lions and some regular tan-colored lions. But what people mostly go to see at the Belgrade zoo is the white lions.
The main place in Africa where white lions are found is in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, which is in the northeast part of South Africa. It's right nextdoor to Kruger National Park. Probably the lions have lived there for many centuries, but the first written record of someone seeing one was in 1938. The native people thought of the white lion as sacred. Many people believed that the white lion could not keep on living in the wild, so that is why people started putting them in zoos and breeding them there.
But now there are people who are trying to reintroduce the white lion to the wild, and they started doing this in 2009. The lions that got put back into the wild learned to hunt and take care of themselves in no time at all, and they are doing well.
Sadly, people are still allowed to hunt lions, and in many places it's okay to shoot a lion, no matter what color it is. So of course lots of hunters want to shoot a white lion because they think that is more special than just shooting an ordinary lion. There is even something called a "canned hunt," where the animals are kept in a fenced area so it's more likely that the hunter will be able to find one and shoot it. I guess this is kind of like shooting fish in a barrel, and it doesn't seem very fair to me.
But anyway, there is a group called the Global White Lion Protection Trust, and they are trying to get more laws passed that would protect the white lions.
You might think that white lions are albinos, but they are not. The reason the lions are white is because of a recessive gene that is called a chinchilla or color inhibitor gene. This gene is actually a mutation that keeps any color from being deposited on the hair shaft. Even the manes and tail tips of the males are white instead of being dark brown or black, like they would be on an ordinary lion.
I'd like to see a white lion sometime because I think they are very beautiful. But if I saw one, I would rather see it in a zoo, and not in the wild because I don't want to end up as lion food!