A fierce confrontation between a rare white lion and a herd of hyenas was recorded in South Africa’s Kruger National Park.
The lion had just killed an antelope when a herd of hyenas appeared, surrounding the opponent to steal the bait.
Tour guide Joe Van Zyl, who recorded the clip, said that he was on his way to a familiar stream to drink water that day when he suddenly encountered a white lioness that had just eaten an antelope.
After about 5 minutes, two hyenas came from afar and repeatedly called out to attract the attention of their fellows. Not long after, a total of 11 hyenas arrived at the scene, far more than the lone lioness. Being attacked, the lioness could not find a way out, so she decided to cower.
The situation became more tense when several hyenas came close to bite the lion’s hind legs leaving it no choice but to flee to safety.
White lions are rare in the wild and are not a separate species. They are actually leucistic, meaning they carry a recessive gene mutation that causes their coat to be lighter than usual. For a lion to be born white, both its parents must carry a recessive gene mutation. Unlike albino, white lions often remain dark in certain spots, such as around the eyes and nose.
Their bright colors make them stand out much more than the common lions, whose tawny fur blends easily into the thickets of the African plains. However, it’s unclear whether this actually makes it harder for white lions to survive.
“As a scientist, I can’t say there’s concrete evidence,” Paul Funston, Panthera’s senior lion program director, told National Geographic.
We’re just guessing, but in this case, the lioness’s bright white coat didn’t help her stand out and escape the attention of the hyenas.