Sipho lost his canines in an injury before he came to Night Safari. He's fiercely protective of his ‘lion’s share’ of the food and doesn't take well to Mandisa messing around during feeding time.
They each consume 10 to 15 kilograms of meat in a day. A variety of meat, including chicken, veal, beef and venison, is provided. To encourage our lions to exercise their jaws, we serve them meat with bones attached.
Meet Sipho and Mandisa
Our white lions came from a zoo in China but bear Swahili names. The male is Sipho, meaning ‘gift’ and the female is Mandisa, meaning ‘sweet’. Mandisa is curious and especially enjoys the attention of her keepers. She clowns around with Sipho, inviting him to play, though he often gets annoyed by her antics.
White lions are leucistic, not albino - they are not totally devoid of pigmentation. Instead of the red eyes seen in albinos, they have blue or yellow eyes. They also sport black nose tips and dark patches behind their ears.
Due to an uncommon gene mutation, their light tawny or off-white coat is a few shades lighter than that of the common lion. They were heavily sought after by circuses and hunted as trophies and became technically extinct in the wild in the early 1990s.