A Tragic End for a Legend

First discovered, or perhaps first documented, in the mid 1970’s were the white lions of the Timbavati. These incredibly unique and beautiful creatures were originally thought to have a form of albinism, but much research has proved that these exquisite white coats are a result of a rare condition known as leucism which allows the fur to be white but the eyes and skin have pigment.

Either way, these rare white lions made a huge contribution to putting the Timbavati on the map, so to say, and people travel across the globe in hope of catching a glimpse of these magnificent animals. In the last while, there has only been one female white lion around, known as the Xakubasa Mafazi (shangaan for White female). She formed part of the giraffe pride. However, earlier this week after a series of unfortunate and tragic events, this white lioness was killed by some dominate male lions.

While she and some members of the pride were feeding on a buffalo kill they were ambushed by the two Mbiri male lions who chased them off the kill. Not moments later the Mapoza males appeared causing havoc and somehow the Xakubasa Mafazi, the white lioness, got caught in the middle and was brutally killed. A truly tragic day for everyone who lives and works in the Timbavati, not to mention the hearts of all the people who these incredible lions have captured and the devastation they also feel.

There is no telling when the next white lion will appear. We know the gene pool in this area is the strongest in Africa, with over 50% of the prides in the Timbavati carrying the gene, but only nature can predict when the Timbavati will be fortunate enough to have the next white lion. 





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