Trilby Beresford
Updated Jul 21, 2016 @ 4:27 pm
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Credit: Ellen Trout Zoo

Animals hold a very special place in our hearts, because, well, they’re just so cute and cuddly and we want to snuggle them all forever always.

The latest animal to cause us to lose our minds is a baby lion cub. And not just any lion cub, but a rare white lion born at Ellen Trout Zoo in Texas.

This picture was taken by the zoo when the cub was just four days old. As you can see, the cub is already voicing its opinions (so precious).

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This lion is the second cub to be birthed by an African lion named Adia, though her first cub was born with normal coloration. Adia also has normal golden fur, as does her male partner. Given all of this, the color of this cub was very surprising for the zookeepers.

But wait! How rare are white cubs?

In an effort to find out just how rare white lions are, Zoo curator Celia Falzone contacted the Lion Species Survival Plan. Her findings indicated that “white cubs are uncommon in accredited zoos in the program.” However, there was a white cub born a couple of years ago at an accredited zoo, though interestingly it “reverted to normal coloration” at six months old.

National Geographic notes that the gene that turns a lion’s fur white is recessive.

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Secretly we hope that this white cub stays white, because it’s sooooooo unbelievably unique! And we’re happy to report, healthy, too. In the press release from the park, the zoo noted that both mother and white cub are “doing great.”

According to the zoo, Adia was unable to rear her first cub because she couldn’t produce milk, so this is her first experience with motherly duties. Of course, that makes this news all the more special.

There’s been a lot of tragedy so far in the world this year, so it’s nice to hear some heartwarming news concerning sweet furry animals.