Cubs pounce their way into Joburg Zoo
JOHANNESBURG – Three furry new residents have moved into the Joburg Zoo.
They are a four-month-old white lion cub, and his sisters, who also carry the rare white lion gene.
The triplets are the zoo’s first cubs in more than five years.
And it’s hoped the new bloodline will allow the zoo to grow its population of the rare white lions.
Joburg Zoo curator Agnes Maluleke said well-intentioned efforts to manage the lion population went horribly wrong, leaving the pride sterile.
“We have 11 adult lions which are aged between 13 and 16 which is quite old for the lions, because in the wild they can live between 10 to 14 years,” she said.
The Joburg Zoo was the first in the world to successfully breed white lions in captivity.
Letaba and his sisters Sabi and Jubba were donated by a private farm in Thabazimbi.
“The white one is a leader and he’s very playful. But he plays very rough because he’s actually thinking we’re all lions and we have fur to protect our skin, so you need to be very careful around them.”
Maluleke said a special enclosure has been constructed for the new arrivals.
“If they’re put in with the zoo’s adult lions, the cubs will be seen as a threat and killed.”
For now though, Letaba, Sabi and Jubba get to bask in all the attention.