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Home   Ashford   News   Article

White lion clubs born to Themba and Joy at Wildlife Heritage Foundation at Smarden

26 June 2013
by Tricia Jamieson

Cubs with the ahh factor. Picture Andy Porter

Cubs with the ahh factor. Picture: Andy Porter

They have definitely got the aahh factor. These four cute white lion cubs are getting to know their surroundings at the Wildlife Heritage Foundation at Smarden.

They were born there in April, to dad Themba and mum Joy, and will be ready for public viewings soon.

Andy Porter, photographer and site keeper at the foundation, said the cubs were the first litter for the pair.

Joy and her sister Sophia only arrived in May, last year, as mates for Themba and now keepers are waiting to see if Sophia is also pregnant.

“The cubs are doing well,” said Mr Porter. “They will be ready for photography workshops in July and August.

“They are three females and a male. We will keep them but as the male gets older, he may have to go elsewhere, which is what would happen in the wild.”

Mum Joy gives the cubs a wash. Picture Andy Porter

Mum Joy gives the cubs a wash. Picture: Andy Porter

White lions are quite rare with only around 300 in the world, according to the Global White Lions Trust.

They are native to the Timbavati region of South Africa. Their colour is from a genetic rarity and ranges from blonde through to near white.

The white lions enclosure at Smarden has benefited from a donation of several thousand trees, bushes and shrubs to WHF from Hopes Grove Nurseries at Tenterden.

“We are incredibly grateful,” said Mr Porter. “We are using the donation to improve the landscaping and in the enclosures – they will change the whole look of the site.”

Earlier this year, keen cyclist Mr Porter attempted a 444-mile ride in two days for charity but had to pull out after the first day through injury.

Undaunted, he is saddling up again for a London to Edinburgh bike ride on July 25 and 26.

Andy Porter (left) from the Wildlife Heritage Foundation and volunteer Mike Matthews who are doing a sponsored streak at London Zoo

Andy Porter (left) from the Wildlife Heritage Foundation and volunteer Mike Matthews who are doing a sponsored streak at London Zoo

As with the previous ride, he is raising money for a new snow leopard enclosure at WHF so female Laila can welcome a mate from Russia.

So far he has raised £4,500 towards the total cost of £40,000.

To sponsor him, go to his justgiving page for the cycle ride

He is also doing a streak to raise money for the enclosure and for London Zoo.

He will be accompanied by WHF volunteer Mike Matthews when he strips off at London Zoo on August 15.

They are focusing on the plight of Sumatran tigers, one of the rarest tigers with just 300 remaining in the wild.

The pair can be sponsored at their streak for tigers justgiving page

Click here for more news from Ashford.

Click here for more news from around the county.

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