Wildlife in Serengeti-Park
White Lion | Panthera leo krugeri
White lions first came to public attention in the 1970s. These royal animals are not albinos. Their white color is caused by a recessive gene. They reside in the South African Kruger National Park and in Timbavati. Tmbavati is a private game reserve with no fence boundaries on the western border of the Kruger National Park. In 2008, the Global White Lion Protection Trust (GWLPT) successfully reintroduced a pack of white lions in Timbavati to preserve the white gene in the wild. Although not yet assessed by the World Conservation Union, IUCN, this species is considered vulnerable according to the GWLPT.
The pack, consisting exclusively of white lions, hunts successfully and raises its litter in the wild without human help. White lions are living mythical animals. They are a rare variant of the famous brown lion. They have as a genetic feature, a white to cream-colored fur and bright blue eyes, not red as albinos. After the tiger, the lion is the second largest cat, making it the largest land predator in Africa. A male lion has a long mane, a head-hull length of 1.70 to 2.50 meters, a shoulder height of about 1.20 meters and a tail length of about one meter. Adult male animals have an average body weight of 225 kilograms. Females have a head-hull length of 1.40 to 1.75 meters, a shoulder height of one meter, a tail that is 85 centimeters in length and a body weight of about 150 kilograms. On average, lions have a greater shoulder height than tigers, but overall are a bit shorter. The largest lions today live in southern Africa, the smallest in Asia. North of the Sahara, the species died out in the 1940s, and the Asian lion populations were almost completely destroyed during the 20th century. Lions are adaptable and occur in a variety of habitats. Their preferred habitat is the savannah, but they also occur in dry forests and semi-deserts. They are never found in dense, humid forests or waterless deserts. Therefore, the species is naturally absent in the Central African rainforests and the driest deserts of North Africa and the Near East. The term “desert king” is therefore not applicable. Lions reach their sexual maturity at the age of two to three years. Even if a male occupies the top of the ranking, it can only mate with a female with her consent. After a gestation period of about four months, the lioness gives birth to one to four kittens, apart from the pack and hidden, each weighing about 1.5 kilograms and 50 centimeters in size. The lifespan of a lion can be 14 to 20 years. As a rule, however, only females reach such an age because males are long before killed or expelled by a younger competitor, find no pack and/or starve. Often, therefore, they do not become older than seven to twelve years. In the zoo, however, some lions lived for up to 34 years.