They have a condition called, leucism, which causes the loss of pigmentation in the skin and fur. They are endemic only in the Greater Timbavati, region of South Africa. White lions and gene-carrying lions have been hunted and forcibly removed from the wild into captivity.
The lion is the second-largest among the big cats, with the first being the Amur tiger. The lion is unusual among the cat species in that they live in organised groups called ‘prides’. They are the only truly social cat, with related females residing together in pride and related or unrelated males forming coalitions that compete for the tenure of pride in fierce and often fatal battles.
Moto our White Lion, King of Paradise joined Paradise Wildlife Park in March 2011, from West Midlands Safari Park to be a companion to Kya and her daughter Izulu. Kya and Moto went on to have Zuri together in 2013. Moto has been an amazing dad, although he’s a bit of a pushover when it comes to Zuri! Moto is currently our largest cat at the zoo and weighs in at around 220kg. He still has his playful moments, where he enjoys playing with large boomer balls and squashing cardboard boxes. His favourite pastime is to seek out any peppermint oil placed around his enclosure, which he then licks and rubs himself on. Moto also loves the sound of his own voice, and everyone enjoys hearing him do his regular territory call throughout the day and sometimes the females even join in! He is generally very easy-going with the girls unless food is involved, which is the only time he will use his dominant position to get fed first. For the most part, he simply watches over the girls playing together and will only intervene if they are getting too boisterous.
Kya is the queen of our lion pride and has always been an amazing mum to Zuri and Izulu. She is a wonderful partner to Moto and always keeps a watchful eye on the pride, ensuring that Zuri doesn’t cause too much trouble and only stepping in when needed. Despite her age, she still has a playful streak and enjoys having fun with her daughters.
Kya and Moto have a lovely bond, and keepers report that they often see the two of them settled near each other away from the girls, or head rubbing when passing each other.
Izulu is known as the ‘supermodel’ of the pride, with her long legs, tall slender frame, and the lightest white fur. She is generally the most reserved of the pride as she has no biological connection or partnership with Moto. However, she definitely has a strong and very sassy side that comes out whenever Moto oversteps the mark or if she spots our vet near her habitat!
Although Zuri her half-sister, is a very dominant personality and spends lots of time with Kya, Izulu also has a strong bond with Kya. They are both very chilled cats who just love resting and grooming together.
Zuri was born in 2013 and is a daddy’s girl. Zuri is the most inquisitive of the pride and loves enrichment. Her favourite toy is a boomer ball, and she loves to play football with it!
Although the lovely Zuri spends a lot of time with Kya, she still loves to push her dad’s buttons but she gets away with it every time!