- The three gorgeous cubs were born on January 28 at zoo in central Poland
- They are already proving quite a handful for doting mother Azira
- It is believed there are less than 50 white lions in the world
Pictured at just two days old, these three gorgeous white lion cubs are already proving quite a handful for their doting mother.
The playful youngsters were barely able to open their eyes, but were already busy exploring their enclosure at the privately-owned Zoo Safari in Borysewo, central Poland.
Their mother, the white lioness Azira, certainly looked like she had her paws full as her newborns clambered over her back getting up to all sorts of mischief.
Mother’s pride: White lion Azira is pictured with her three beautiful new-born cubs
Mane attraction: The newborn lions are set to become major celebrities at Zoo Safari in Borysewo, central Poland
Born on January 28, they are set to become a major attraction at the privately owned zoo as there are believed to be less than fifty white lions in the world.
White lions are native to only the Greater Timbavati region of South Africa, an area characterised by white sandy riverbeds and long grass scorched pale by the sun.
They are regarded as sacred animals by the people of that region, but after Europeans ‘discovered’ them in the 1970s, many were taken from the wild to captive breeding and hunting operations, according to the Global White Lion Protection Trust.
These removals, along with lion culling and trophy hunting of male lions, depleted the gene pool and the animals have been technically extinct in the wild for the past 12 years.
Nuzzle: Doting mother Azira tends to one of her newborns
Squeaker: One of the little cubs, its eyes barely open, yelps for attention
Curious: An adventurous cub clambers on the back of its mother white lioness Azira at the Polish zoo
In their natural habitat, white lions are regarded as ‘apex predators’, able to hunt successfully in day and night and take down prey as large as giraffes.
Despite their rarity, white lions are not yet classified as endangered because biologists still regard them as ultimately the same as their tawny equivalents.
The Global White Lion Protection Trust is campaigning for white lions to be recognised as a subspecies of lions, so that they can be protected under international law.
However, the genetic marker that makes white lions unique has not yet been identified by scientists and research into the animals is ongoing.
Despite their rarity, white lions are not yet classified as endangered because biologists still regard them as ultimately the same as their tawny equivalents
White lioness Azira keeps a close eye on one of her triplets. The cubs were born on January 28
Big daddy: White lion Sahim, father of three new born cubs, is pictured in his enclosure in the privately-owned zoo
Housemate: White male tiger Aron is another resident at the privately-owned zoo in Boryszew, central Poland