White Transvaal Lion (Panthera Leo Krugeri)
The Transvaal lion or Southeast African lion (Panthera leo krugeri), is a subspecies of the Lion that lives in southern Africa, including Kruger National Park and the Kalahari Region. It is named after the Transvaal region in South Africa.
The white lion is a rare color mutation of the Timbavati area. White lions are the same as the tawny African Lion (Panthera leo krugeri) found in some wildlife reserves in South Africa and in zoos around the world. White lions are not a separate subspecies and are thought to be indigenous to the Timbavati region of South Africa for centuries, although the earliest recorded sighting in this region was in 1938. Regarded as divine by locals, white lions first came to public attention in the 1970s in Chris McBride’s book The White Lions of Timbavati. Up until 2009, when the first pride of white lions was reintroduced to the wild, it was widely believed that the white lion could not survive in the wild. It is for this reason that a large part of the population of white lions now reside in zoos.
White lions of Mazanie are not albinos. Their white colour is caused by a recessive trait derived from a less-severe mutation in the same gene that causes albinism, distinct from the gene responsible for white tigers. They vary from blonde to near-white. This coloration does not appear to disadvantage their survival. The white lions of the Global White Lion Protection Trust (GWLPT) have been reintroduced into their natural habitat and have been hunting and breeding successfully without human intervention for a significant amount of time.
The male Southeast African lion has usually a well-developed mane. Most of them are black-maned as well. Males are around 2.6–3.20 metres long including the tail. The females are 2.35–2.75 metres. The weight of males is generally 150–250 kg, while the females are 110–182 kg. They have a shoulder height of 0.92–1.23 metres.
According to recent genetic research, the extinct Cape lion, formerly described as a separate subspecies, is not significantly different from other South African lions. Therefore the Cape lion would have represented the southernmost population of the Transvaal lion.
There are more than 2000 lions of this subspecies in the well protected Kruger National Park. In addition about 100 lions are registered under the name P. l. krugeri by the International Species Information System. These animals are derived from animals captured in South Africa.
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