ANDALUSIA, Spain (Newspath) – Two rare white African lion cubs were born Sunday in an animal reserve in southern Spain.
The two six-day-old male and female white lion cubs were transferred Friday into a special room to control their feeding in Jimena de la Frontera, a mountain village in the Andalusia region.
“Their parents are common African lions and therefore we never expected white lions to be born from them,” Little Africa animal reserve events coordinator Elisabeth Rodriguez told Reuters.
According to the Global White Lion Protection Trust, the animals are not albinos but “a genetic rarity” of the Greater Timbavati area in South Africa’s Krueger National Park.
“For me it has been something spectacular, it is not every day you can have a white lion in your hands,” said biologist Fabiola Mesa.
White lions were removed from the wild and placed in captive breeding and hunting operations in the 1930s.
They are classified as Panthera Leo, which means they are not recognized by current scientific labelling as being ‘different’ and are therefore not protected by law, according to the organization.
This means they can be hunted or traded to extinction despite there being less than 13 white lions living in the wild in their natural habitat.