Extremely rare White Lion 'could be shot by trophy hunters' after being auctioned off
The white lion comes from a rare colour mutation, found in the Southern African lion. From the Timbavati region of South Africa, the earliest recorded sighting was in 1938, with them only coming to the public's attention in the 1970s. The number of white lions is only 300 at most, with only 13 living in the wild.
Amidst this crisis, the vulnerable group are taking another hit - and this time it's not trophy hunters in the wild, but a legal purchase. A white lion named Mufasa has become the centre of a worldwide campaign, after his life has been put in danger.
Mufasa was captured three years ago when he was a cub. However, Mufasa is now reportedly set to be sold at an auction, for him to be bought by hunters and shot him for sport, or his remains sold overseas.
Various campaigns and petitions have sprang up to help save him from being hunted and potentially move him into a sanctuary. However, it seems as if South African authorities are currently moving ahead with their plans to sell him at an auction. Due to his infertility, it has been decided that he would have greater value being sold in this way.
So far, the petition has gained over 230,000 supporters so far, and are inching closer to their goal. These campaigns are calling for the authorities to change their minds, with their message addressed to South Africa's Minister of Environmental Affairs. They wrote:
"Mufasa and Suraya are now three years old and are inseparable.
"Nature conservation officials refused permission for Mufasa to be relocated to a sanctuary, who offered to care for both Mufasa and Suraya for their natural lives, free of charge.
"Instead, the rehab centre was told telephonically that Mufasa will be auctioned to raise funds for the department."
Additionally, the sanctuary where Mufasa has been cared in the last few years is also campaigning. The Wild for Life sanctuary is raising money to battle against the decision to auction the lion, writing:
"In the last few weeks we have seen and read extensively about what happens to lions in the industry. Mufasa has had a vasectomy and cannot be bred with. This means there is only one of two options left.
"The number of lion hunters are down and lions have been killed in high numbers for their bones to be exported to the East. Soraya and Mufasa are inseparable and it would be extremely traumatic for Soraya to lose her companion.
"She was in a terrible emotional state before they were united as cubs and even when moved to a bigger enclosure she was highly anxious when she woke up and couldn't find Mufasa."
Unfortunately, a later update revealed that this plan was not fruitful. After offering an exchange to cover the cost of the lion, they initially received no response, before later being denied. The case is still ongoing though, so there is still some hope that Mufasa is allowed to live out the rest of his life in peace.