A wildlife photographer has recently came across an extremely rare white lion cub. Lyle McCabe, 30, was visiting the famous Kruger National Park in South Africa, when spotted the unusual cub. The white baby lion was playing with its mother and the other of its siblings.
Even though he initially thought the rare cub may suffering from albinism, McCabe said the cub another rare genetic condition called leucism. Unlikely albinism, leucism leads to partial loss of pigmentation, so even even with a completely white coat, an animal that is suffering from it does not have its eyes affected. Either way, there is always an eye-catching sight!
“I was absolutely mind blown with this sighting,” McCabe described the moment. “We had known the cubs had been born about a month before but as per company protocol we had moved away from the area for walking, tracking and driving off-road in order to ensure the safety of the animals.”
However, when McCabe later returned, he just could not believe his eye of what he saw, so so do his family and friends. “Once I arrived at the spot, I saw movement in the thicket, and out came the mother with a tawny youngster in her mouth followed closely behind by the pale youngster,” the photographer said. “My family and friends have been overwhelmed by the sight.”
Even though, for now the cub’s family seems to accept him, it might face some big challenges in the future due to its rare condition. Leucism, just as albinism, melanism, or other genetic conditions, made the individuals extremely vulnerable in front of predators. They are also frequently rejected by their own groups and families, due to their odd looking.
“We are all hopeful that all of the cubs will make it past the critical two-year mark which will increase their percentage of survival greatly,” McCabe said. “Hopefully we will have many more sightings of this very rare genetic change. The road ahead will be a tough.”