Africa

Crowdsourcing Luck For Me To See The Famed Timbavati White Lions

Photo: Ethos Marketing

Photo: Ethos Marketing

Cross you fingers for me!

Seriously, cross them.

When I made my plans to go to Timbavati in South Africa, I had no idea that it was also the origin of the famous white lions. They’re incredibly rare, more live in captivity than in the wild, and the chance I’ll see them is pretty low.

However, they were recently seen near where we’ll be staying in June, and now I am engaging in every good luck act I can think of to increase our odds.

Side note: While I was writing this I threw salt over my shoulder and spun around three times. Tomorrow I plan on finding a four-leaf clover.

But I digress….back to the lions.

The white lions are not albino, they have a condition called leucism, caused by a recessive gene that results in white fur but pigmented skin and eyes. Some white lions have blue eyes.

Photo: Librarian Science

Photo: Librarian Science

The lions were discovered in the early thirties but according to the organization White Lions, created to protect these beautiful creatures, the stories were dismissed as myth, it wasn’t until an animal biologist named Chris McBride provided photographic proof of their existence that the world believed. That being said, oral histories told by local tribal elders suggest that the white lions have lived in the region for centuries.

Of course, because mankind can never leave well enough alone, scientists wrongly concluded that the lions were albino and wouldn’t be able to properly hunt because of their lack of camouflage, and removed the lions from their habitat.

“They [the scientists] erroneously concluded their scarcity resulted from lack of camouflage when hunting, thus rendering them incapable of surviving in the wild. Although this has been repeatedly proven false, all White Lions were forcibly removed from their natural and spiritual homelands, into zoos and circuses, and most appallingly into South Africa’s legalized canned hunting industry.”  ~ White Lions

Some times I just want to slap people.

Linda Tucker, a conservationist that launched The Global White Lion Protection Trust, was able to purchase protected land on behalf of the white lions and three prides were successfully introduced into the wild where they are currently monitored. (To read more about Linda Tucker check out this 2013 interview with Forbes)

It’s a long shot that I’ll run across the white lions, I’ll need a lot of awesome mojo to make that happen, so I’m counting on you folks to help me out.

If some time in early June you hear a woman loudly wooting with glee, but you’re not quite sure where it’s coming from, it’s me in Timbavati after seeing a white lion.

 

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