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Published: Sunday, 3/30/2003

3 white lions to appear at zoo, as if by magic

Three white lions from Siegfried and Roy's conservation program are now living at the Toledo Zoo.

The 2-year-old lions go on display April 11 in the African Savanna exhibit. The three male lions — Wisdom, Courage, and Legend — were born in the Cincinnati Zoo. Cincinnati and Toledo are the only zoos in the U.S. exhibiting Siegfried and Roy's white lions.

The Las Vegas magicians developed a conservation program with several white tigers and 23 white lions. There are fewer than 50 white lions worldwide, according to zoo officials.

White lions are the same species as the African lions commonly found in zoos. They are not albino. Their light coloring is caused by a recessive gene. In the wild, white lions have difficulty concealing themselves when stalking their prey, so they do not survive well.

White lion cubs are pure white when they are born, but their fur can darken as they get older. Adult white lions have coats ranging from white to tawny.

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