By Sebastian Hassett
BEING white, cute and rare, these lion cubs are guaranteed crowd pleasers.
And New South Wales south coast tourism operators hope they’ll be a drawcard for their home at Mogo Zoo, just south of Bateman’s Bay, which caters for endangered species.
The nine-week-old cubs are only the second litter of their kind to be bred in Australia, coming just three months after the first, also born at Mogo Zoo.
Recently thought to be extinct after 12 years without a sighting in the wild, the white lions, whose colour stems from a recessive gene, are now the focus of a global program to save the species.
A public competition has been announced to name the new additions.
The first cubs were named Perr and Jo in honour of the Peugeot car company, which has financially assisted the zoo and whose brand carries the lion logo.
Tourism Minister Sandra Nori, speaking during a visit to Sydney by the lion cubs today, said they would prove a big attraction for tourists on the south coast.
“Mogo Zoo has bred four white lions in three months; they’ve now got a pride of seven and I’ve seen the pride and they are beautiful,” Ms Nori told reporters at Luna Park today.
“These cubs are originally from the Timbavati region of Africa and they’re rarer than the snow leopards of the Himalayas.”
Ms Nori said the Government was looking to increase tourist numbers to the south coast and a holiday planner tailored to the area would help guide visitors on what to do.