The white lioness pride - The Big Cat Sanctuary

The white lioness pride

Panthera Leo/LionVulnerable

Interesting facts about The white lioness pride

  • Sabi and Shaka are sisters, born to their mother the late Sophia in 2013
  • Jasiri and Nuru are sisters born to their mother Joy in 2013 - they share an enclosure with Sabi and Shaka
  • The four white lionesses live happily together in a little pride since the loss of the Manzi, the male lion who headed up the pride
  • These beautiful girls spend most of their time relaxing wherever it's warmest, be that indoors in winter or outside in the sun during summer
  • The white colouration of the pride is caused by a genetic mutation called leucism. White lions are not a different sub-species to African lions - they just happen to be white!
  • These lionesses demonstrate on a daily basis just how much love there is within a family pride - the bonds between them are clear to see

The white lioness pride's story

The Sanctuary’s white lions are all the offspring of Joy and Sophia, two white lionesses who came to the Sanctuary in 2012 to join Themba – the resident male white lion at the time.

The two sisters both became mothers here at the Sanctuary, and their daughters still live at here and will remain with us.

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About white lions

The Timbavati region of the Kruger in South Africa is home to some very bleached sands and grasses, so white lions are able to camouflage well enough to hunt and thrive in this environment. In South Africa the tawny-coloured lions naturally mix with white lions. White lions are not actually a sub-species – they’re simply a different colour to most of the lions in this isolated area. Sadly, white lions are hunted with a much higher price on their head, simply by virtue of being more unusual, making for a much rarer and therefore highly sought-after trophy.

The myth of the white lion has been prevalent in the African folklore for centuries. As per the legend, white lions would be born every 100 years, bringing joy and happiness to all who witness them. 

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About African lions

The vast majority of lions live in sub-Saharan Africa. The current world population is estimated at under 24,000 – down from as many as 200,000 in 1900. Lions are threatened by the illegal trade in meat and other body parts, habitat loss, and conflict with humans due to the real or perceived threat that lions pose to livestock.

The male African lion is second in size of the big cats only to the tiger. As the only truly social species of cat, prides of lions can hunt even the largest prey – buffalo, giraffe, and even juvenile elephants. However, they predominantly prey upon medium-sized wildlife, such as wildebeest, zebra and impala.

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IUCN Red List Category Vulnerable(VU)

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