White Lion pride

{ Panthera leo/ White lion }


Adoptions are an ideal way of helping save some of the rarest cats in the world, whether it be the smallest wild cat, the Sri Lankan rusty spotted cat, the rarest of all big cats, the Amur leopard or the largest of big cats, the magnificent Amur tiger.

Adopting helps with the cats husbandry, including food and veterinary care when required.

As an adopter you are able to visit on one of the Supporters Afternoons run throughout the year, (one visit per 12 month adoption period); where you will be able to tour our site at your leisure, enjoy talks from the keepers followed by light refreshments. There is also the opportunity of bringing up to 4 guests for a suggested donation of £25 each.



WHF, The Big Cat Sanctuary has pride of White lions, comprising  six females;  Joy & Sophia,  Jasiri, Nuru, Sabi and Shaka.

Joy gave birth to our first successful litter of lion cubs, Ngozi, Imara, Jasiri and Nuru.

Sophia gave birth to our youngest girls, Sabi and Shaka.

Our lovely big boy, Ngozi has a very sweet nature. However, being a young male he is also prone to having tantrums and throwing his weight around. Both Ngozi and his sister Imara have been living separately to the rest of the pride since they were just under a year old. His sister lives with him for companionship.

White lions are currently not viewed as a separate sub-species to the tawny African lion. The white coloration is simply due to a condition known as leucism. Tyrosinase is an enzyme responsible for the production of melanin and in white lions this enzyme is slightly mutated. Leucistic animals are pale in colour yet still have dark areas of the body and colour in the eyes. White lions range from cream in colour to very pale white with areas of black around the eyes and ears. The eyes can be either blue or gold in colour.

The last sighting of a wild white lion was in the Timbavati region of Africa in the 1970s. Tawny African lions can give birth to a mixture of white and tawny cubs providing the parents are carrying the mutated gene. However in order to produce a completely white pride of lions, white males must be bred with white females. A small group of white cubs were captured from the Timbavati Nature Reserve and taken to Pretoria. These cats were the genetic starting point of the majority of captive white lions today and in order to produce so many animals with the white gene inbreeding occurred which has resulted in several genetic faults being shown in the population. Some of these include crossed eyes and deformities within the bones/limbs.

Social structure is completely natural for lions and can be seen shown in our captive pride. Each animal has its own place in a shifting hierarchy determined by the more dominant animals. Dominance may shift between the adult females and is often followed by a range of vocalizations. There are often small nicks and cuts in these disagreements but it often sounds much worse than it actually is. The group will bond by grooming one another, calling and also feeding together. They are fed one large carcass feed once a week, very similar to how they would eat in the wild. Vitamin A and a multivitamin supplement are also added to aid eyesight and digestive function.