Background and Mission
Timbavati the only region on our globe where White Lions have been born in the wild, was recognised as a sacred site by African kings long before President Kruger declared the region a ‘national game park’. The first White Lion sighting by a European witness, was in the Peru area of Timbavati in the early 1940s by Joyce Mostert, whose family owned large tracks of land in Timbavati, and were associates of President Kruger.
However, long-standing legends of White Lions exist in the oral knowledge of the high priests of Africa (isanusi). These oral records recount that the White Lions’ first appearance dates back over 400 years to the reign of Queen Numbi, when a meteoritic event of sorts occurred in the Timbavati region. The first photographic records of the White Lions date to the 1970s when researcher, Chris McBride, recorded the existence of White Lions in more than one pride in the Timbavati region. Fearing for the safety of this unique species, Chris McBride organised to have three lions captured, in an operation known as Operation White Lion (1975). These were sent to the Pretoria Zoo.
Today, no White Lions exist in the wild.
The ultimate objective is to establish the White Lion as a global treasure, of inestimable value both for environment and culture. Since the publication of Linda Tucker’s book on the cultural and symbolic significance of the White Lions, entitled Children of the Sun God, the trading value of these Lions has increased 4-fold (trading @ R250 000 January 2001, valued at R1 000 000 in August 2001).
This is indicative of the commercial value attached to the White Lions. At present, there is no legislation to protect the White Lion from exploitation by the barbaric ‘canned’ lion hunting industry. The primary focus is on highlighting the White Lion’s value in terms of culture, conservation, education, eco-tourism, and ultimately spiritual enlightenment.In cultural terms the White Lion is the King of the Beasts at his most elevated. In scientific terms, the White Lion is a genetic rarity. Either way, these special animals need to be protected and studied. In South Africa, the book Mystery of the White Lions has been recommended by pre-eminent African elder, Credo Mutwa, as a school text book. The objective is to reinvest in the cultural and conservationist value of the White Lions, and thereby raise awareness of our earth’s value and the urgent need for its preservation.