A rare white lion at a sanctuary in Paarl in South Africa’s Western Cape Province has fathered three little cubs, even though he was surgically sterilised four years ago. Locals and tourists have called it a ‘Christmas Miracle’ and have been visiting the Drakenstein Lion Park, since the birth of the cubs were discovered three weeks ago.
The Lion Park Sanctuary is a haven for captive-born, hand raised lions.Most of them rescued from circuses, zoos and other abusive situations around the world. At the moment the sanctuary cares for 33 lions that cannot be rehabilitated into the wild and offers them a lifetime of care. But it has a strict non-breeding policy and all male lions are sent to the vet to get vasectomies. Despite this, Brutus – who was born in 2010 – managed to father three white lion cubs, with his parter Nala. Much to the surprise of sanctuary workers and visitors.
“Brutus was surgically sterilised in 2011. And has been living with Nala ever since and we’ve had no little accidents. But just before Christmas we discovered Nala behaving quite strangely. And the reason… there were three lion cubs she was hiding in the bush. So somehow, Brutus’ vasectomy had failed after four years and he was able to produce some offspring.” said Paul Hart, Drakenstein Lion Park
Like most moms, the lioness Nala was very protective of her newborns. Feeding them, keeping them in the shade and protecting them from the cameras. But it did not affect the excitement of visitors.
“The three cubs were a huge surprise. And they’re taking up a lot of my time monitoring them. But they’ve `also had a positive impact with the amount of visitors wanting to come see them.” said Paul Hart, Drakenstein Lion Park
And like their dad, the three lion cubs will also be sterilised when they become sexually mature. And lion-keepers here say they hope there won’t be any more unexpected babies