White lions at Sanbona

White lions at the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve in South Africa.

Have you ever seen a white lion? I have when I was on a safari ride in the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve in South Africa. Did you know that they are really white and bright? I like them because the color of their fur is so bright. It is much brighter than the tawny lion. The tawny lion is the yellow lion that you may have seen at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.       

The white lion is four feet tall and it weighs 350 to 400 pounds. They live in the Great Timbavati Wildlife Reserve and Sanbona Wildlife Reserve in South Africa (their habitat). There are only 10 white lions roaming free in the wild. They were first found in the Great Timbavati in 1938 and the people of Sanbona recently bought the three that they have.

Before we saw the white lions up close they were white specks in the distance. We were on the top of a mountain enjoying a "sundowner." A sundowner is taking a break from the game drive and enjoying a hot chocolate and a special snack. So we quickly threw our drinks in the jeep and took off! 

Our jeep raced down the mountain and we barely caught them. The mother lion was walking slowly through the bush. I think she was hunting. She didn’t even look at us. But the boy and girl lions were curious about us. They spent some time looking strangely at us. They also were playing like cats. They way they played sort of looked like my friend James’ cats playing only much bigger. It was pretty cool. They were really close, like five feet away from me.

The white lions eat zebra, impala, buffalo, wild hogs and antelope. White lions are endangered because of being overhunted. They also have bright fur so some people think they haven’t done as well as the tawny lion in nature because they stand out.

I was lucky to see the white lions on safari. The white lions are rare to see in the wild. It was really cool.

Iain Ray

Iain Ray is a second grader at Normandy in Bay Village, currently living abroad in South Africa.

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Volume 5, Issue 4, Posted 10:03 AM, 02.19.2013