White Lions Find Refuge in DFW Exotic Feline Sanctuary

Monday, Jul 13, 2009  |  Updated 10:30 AM CDT
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White Lions Find Refuge in DFW Exotic Feline Sanctuary

AP

White lions, like the cub on the right, are an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion and are not albinos, but a genetic rarity.

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Three white lions malnourished to the point that they have difficulty eating have been brought to a big cat sanctuary in Wylie.

Veterinarians are tying to determine how ill the lions are. They were brought to In-Sync Exotics in Wylie on Friday after being seized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture from a Texas wildlife exhibitor in Kaufman County.

Vicky Keahey, who runs the sanctuary, tells The Dallas Morning News, "I'd call this probably the worst I've gotten."

The lions -- Jazz, Shazam and Sheila -- 42 other exotic cats at the sanctuary. The animals are said to be in poor health, have pressure sores from lying in one place and have a difficult time keeping their heads up.

The white lions have unusually light fur but are not albinos. Their color results from a rare genetic mutation.

Neither the exhibitor, Marcus Cook, or Dept. of Agriculture officials could be reached for comment, DallasNews said.

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