Watch a Tour Guide Get Within Feet of a Rare White Lion in South Africa

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Written by Hannah Crawford

Published: November 30, 2023

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Male white lion
© Vladimir Wrangel/Shutterstock.com

When touring South Africa, there are incredible sights to see worldwide. Seeing a cheetah lurking in the grass or a herd of wildebeests powering through the Limpopo River makes us appreciate the beauty of nature in the wild. However, catching sight of an animal so rare as the white lion could be categorized as the sighting of a lifetime. Don’t miss this gorgeous animal in the video above. 


White Lion in South Africa

The YouTube video at the top of this blog post takes us to South Africa. The Mapogo Lions YouTube page shared this incredible footage of a white lion a little over a week ago, and it has received more than 500 views. 

Tired White Lion

At the start of this video, we are taken to South Africa. When some tourists or tour guides catch sight of an extremely rare white lion, he stands up and takes a big yawn. He’s not concerned with the car right next to him and the fact they are filming him. It’s as if he knows just how rare he is. And just as quickly as he gets up, he takes an enormous yawn, and then at 24 seconds, he plops down. This rare white lion is just a little bit tired. 

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How Rare Is a White Lion?

white lion

A white lion can have dark eyes.

©Edwin Butter/Shutterstock.com

White lions are not Panthera leo, the common lions we know of in the wild. A white lion is Panthera leo melanochaita. These lions are extremely rare. According to the Global White Lion Protection Trust, fewer than 13 white lions are left roaming in the wild. 

A common misconception is that the white lion is also called an albino. But this is not the case. White lions are not albinos. “White lions are leucistic, which means that a recessive gene mutation makes their fur white, while their skin and eyes retain their natural pigment.” 

While one of the most beautiful animals in the wild, they are in danger. And yes, of course, we mean the threat of extinction, given that only a handful are left. However, we suggest that they are in danger in the wild given their color because they cannot hide as the Panthera leo can. Their white color does not blend in well, leaving them at a disadvantage for being attacked in the wild. 


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About the Author

Hannah Crawford is a writer at A-Z Animals where she focuses on reptiles, mammals, and locations in Africa. Hannah has been researching and writing about animals and various countries for over eight years. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Communication\Performance Studies from Pensacola Christian College, which she earned in 2015. Hannah is a resident in Florida, and enjoys theatre, poetry, and growing her fish tank.

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