It's said good things come in threes, and that's certainly the case at the Tbilisi Zoological Park. A rare white lion at the zoo in the Georgian capital city has given birth to three cubs.
White lions are an extremely rare breed, identical to the tawny African lion species (Panthera leo krugeri) found in just one part of the world: in certain parts of the Timbavati and Kruger region of South Africa. Most white lions that exist in the world today are held in circuses and zoos, though the past decade has seen a pride of lions reintroduced to the wild.
The Tbilisi zoo where the new cubs were born made headlines in 2015 when a flood freed — and ultimately killed — hundreds of animals from the zoo, resulting in incongruous images of bears, tigers and a particularly charismatic hippopotamus named Begi wandering the streets of Tbilisi. The parents of the new cubs are two lions given the names Cleopatra and Samuel; one of their cubs died in the flooding two years ago.
The Tbilisi Zoo has an entire album of photos on its Facebook page dedicated to the sleepy new arrivals.
"Currently, the newborn babies are being kept in a closed cage and away from the public so they can adapt to the calm environment," the zoo told United Press international. "Their mother will most likely let them out in the coming days, and everyone will have a chance to come and see them for the first time."
White lions are not albinos. Rather, they exhibit the condition known as leucism caused by a reduction in multiple types of pigment. Albinism, on the other hand, is caused by the absence of melanin."