White lion2

Sunshine, a male at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Unlike other cats, white lions a recessive gene resulting in a light-colored coat distinguishes the white lion from other lions, though they are members of the same species, the sotuheast African or Transvaal lion (Panthera leo krugeri). Only 300 white lions are left and they are all in captivity.

Lions live in social groups called prides that consist of a handful of females and their young and a coalition of two to three males. Males protect the pride and their territory by roaring and scent-marking as they patrol the area. As the dominant predator on the African savannah, lions can take the largest prey of any other carnivore in the region. Working cooperatively as a team, the lions stalk and surround their prey, getting as close as they can before launching an attack. They are successful in only one of every four hunts.

White lion3

Daughter Gracious and mother Prosperity at the Cincinnati Zoo


  • Where to see them: Southeast Africa
  • Height: Male - Up to 4 ft, Female - Up to 3.6 ft
  • Weight: Male - 330 to 530 lbs, Female - 270 to 400 lbs
  • Lifespan: Up to 18 yrs in the wild
  • Habitat: Savannah, arid woodland, and scrubland
  • Diet: Primarily hoofed mammals such as gazelles and zebras; some small mammals, birds, and reptiles
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