White lion cub the first to be born in three years. It has delighted tourists on safari.
Two wildlife photographers snaped the four-day-old cub. As it hid with its mother in a den.
Before other tourists on safari flocked to see the lioness and her three cubs. Mike Sutherland managed to capture the first photo of the newborn.
The safari guide had been taking a group of guests on a tour. When he was told of the cub sighting to catch a glimpse of the new arrival.
Due to viewing restrictions protecting the precious animals. He was only able to take photographs from 25 metres away.
Mr Sutherland said: ‘We arrived at the den. We had an immediate flash of white.
‘There was a little cub of about four days old lying in front of its mother. White lion cubs are an rare thing to see. Mother Lion given its age. We were in absolute awe.’
Another guide said he would always cherish’ the moment. He caught the tiny cub being carried by its mother in front of him.
He’s worked on safari for 15 years. Sometimes he waits to 17 hours a day for sightings of some of Africa’s most impressive animals. But claims this beat them all.
‘This was a once in a lifetime moment – a moment that I will never forget and always cherish,’ he said.
‘We had heard there was a lioness at a den with a white cub so we decided to wait at the site to see what would happen in the hope of her moving the cubs.
‘It was towards the end of the morning, a time when the chance of hyena and other threats are minimal because of the heat. Luckily my guests were very patient.
‘As if it wasn’t enough for the lioness to carry one cub, she then carried this white one and then another.
‘We had planned to go out and find leopards and wild dogs. We never expected to see such a rare sight.’
White lions are classed as ‘critically endangered’ and in 2015 it was estimated there were only 13 left in the world.
The last ones recorded were born in 2015 and it is believed one white lion male currently exists somewhere in the Kruger National Park but no recent information is available, according to Mr Sutherland.
He said cubs of this colour are produced when two tawny-coloured lions mate and both carry the recessive ‘white’ gene.
Mr Sutherland said he discovered the den on March 5 on the bank of the Timbavati River.
By: Daily Mail