A few months ago, during a visit to the Brașov Zoo, one of the numerous attractions which can be found in that stunning Transylvanian city and its surrounding areas, I had the opportunity of seeing for the first time ever a pair of white lions. It was a remarkable sight for me because I knew that there were extremely few specimens left in the world from this unique species.
As a matter of fact, it was only after seeing these superb felines in the flesh that I found out that there were only about 300 white lions living in captivity and a lot fewer left in the wild, probably 13 in 2019, and I understood how endangered these majestic animals are. White lions were endemic to the Timbawati region and the Kruger National Park in South Africa until they were hunted to extinction. Fortunately they were reintroduced in the wild in 2006, but obviously they are still critically at-risk of being extinct again as their true enemies, ruthless people with no concern for wildlife preservation, will certainly try to hunt them down.
White lions, like all wild creatures, should be out in the middle of nature, but in the current circumstances being in a zoo certainly represents a life-saving alternative for them, so the pair I could admire at the Brasov zoo will probably never experience the sweet taste of freedom, but at least they are well taken care of and don’t have to worry about finding food.
As I was looking at them basking in the sun on a hot summer afternoon, I was imagining what it would be like to observe them in action in their natural habitat, hunting in the vast savannahs of Africa. Maybe they had such dreams too, but since they were born and bred in captivity, they obviously lack the skills necessary to allow them to manage in the wild.
Even so, they still impressed me with their strength, beauty, and unique aspect, so I hope this extraordinary species which symbolizes pride, power, and bravery will have a better future. It’s up to humans to make sure that these animals will grow in numbers and live freely once again in the grasslands and savannahs of Africa.
The photos are mine.