A zoo in Australia has become home to a decidedly odd couple: a young white lion and a dog that have become companions.
The Darling Downs Zoo in Pilton, Queensland, has posted a delightful video of the pair, named Kwanza (lion) and Honey (dog).
They met when Kwanza’s mother stopped producing milk. Zoo caretakers had to feed the cub themselves, and Honey came along for the ride.
In the video, the two animals are clearly affectionate toward each other, with Honey wagging her tale as the two wait for a zoo gate to open and allow them to interact. They quickly do, rubbing against each other in a warm greeting before walking off to play, side by side.
However, it’s unlikely they will remain playmates forever. Kwanza, who was born in November, is still very young. When he becomes an adult, he may become too big for Honey (the average African lion weighs between 300 and 500 pounds).
Much like white tigers, white lions are not true albinos but get their distinctly colored coats due to a genetic abnormality. They retain a mythical status in some parts of South Africa, although they are also reportedly subjected to ritualistic hunts that threaten their already limited numbers. Their existence was officially confirmed only in 1975 by animal biologist Chris McBride, who documented a white lion in a South African area known as Timbavati.