Rare white lions make first appearance in Turkish park
Hosted in AslanPark, Turkey's first park specifically designed for cat species in the Tuzla municipality, four white lions -- two male and two female -- made their first appearance on May 30.
Ogün Turanlı, the director general of Viaport Shopping Center, told Anadolu Agency that there are 30 white lions estimated to live across the world.
“White lions were carried to Istanbul in line with the international pet shipping system. Our aim to bring them here is to contribute to the tourism and the species of white lion,” Turanlı said.
White lions are generally live in South Africa and it is a species under protections, he added.
The lions, aged between 2,5-3, consume 20 kilograms (44,09 pounds) of meat every two days, Turanlı said, adding they are yet to be named.
White lions are not albinos, but a genetic rarity unique to one endemic region, which is The Greater Timbavati and Kruger Park region in South Africa, according to Global White Lion Protection Trust, a South African based NGO dedicated to conservation and community development.
Their condition is known as leucism, a rarity where a recessive mutation in the gene causes the lion's coat to vary from near-white to blonde, rather than the common tawny.