We are very excited to have white lions return to our collection. White lions are not albinos, nor a separate species, but a genetic rarity. They carry the recessive gene known as a colour inhibitor of the Kruger subspecies of lion (Panterha leo krugeri) said to be indigenous to the Timbavati region of South Africa. This region is characterized by white sandy riverbeds and in winter the long grass of this region is pale in colour. They vary from blonde through near-white in colour, and in this habitat these colours provide better camouflage than tawny (yellowish-brown), thus their colouration does not appear to be a disadvantage to their survival. The earliest recorded sighting of white lions in the Timbavati region was in 1928, but it wasn't until 1975 when a litter containing two white cubs were seen at the Timbavati game reserve that it was confirmed. The last white lion was seen in the wild in 1994, after which time they were considered extinct in the wild. In 2003, the first reintroduction of white lions into the Timbavati Reserve occurred. This is important to the local communities as they revere white lions and hold them sacred.