National Zoo & Aquarium

Hi! I’m Sabi an African Lion

The lion is the second largest feline species, after the tiger. Lions are the only truly social cats. Prides are made up of related females and 1 to 2 males and numbers can range from 2 to 40 lions. Members of the pride come and go and are rarely all together at once.

Young males band together to form ‘bachelor’ prides. The male lion, easily recognised by his mane, is not always part of hunting parties. This is not because they do not want to or cannot hunt, their size and strength is better served protecting their home territory and young.

The National Zoo and Aquarium is home to 3 tawny coloured lions; Millie and her two sons Sabi & Marjan.

White lions

White Lions are rare in the wild however small numbers are found in some wildlife reserves in South Africa. White lions are not a separate subspecies and they are not albinos. They have a condition known as leucism (pronounced ‘lukism’), caused by a recessive gene. It is simply a reduction in the colour pigments of the skin. Strictly speaking we should not we call them white lions, but more correctly ‘blonde’ lions.

The National Zoo and Aquarium is home to 2 White Lions; Brother and sister, Jake & Mischka.

African Lion

Meet an African Lion on our White Lion Encounter

Learn more

African Lion facts

CONSERVATION STATUS Vulnerable
DISTRIBUTION Africa, and the Gir Forest in Western India (Asia)
SIZE 150–240kg (male), 122–182kg (female)
LIFE SPAN 10–15 years in the wild, up to 25 in captivity
GESTATION 100–120 days

Meet an African Lion on our White Lion Encounter

Learn more
Scrivener Dam, Yarralumla, Canberra, ACT 2611

Open every day from 9:30am to 5:00pm

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