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article imageDog becomes foster parent to rare white lion cub

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By JohnThomas Didymus     Aug 1, 2012 in Environment
A two-year-old pointer mongrel called Lejon adopted a rare white lion born in captivity at the Safari Park in Stukenbrock, north-west Germany. The mother of 3-week-old JoJo rejected him shortly after birth.
Buzzfeed reports that carers separated JoJo from his mother because she had a navel infection. But when they tried to reunite the mother and child, she shunned him.
The Daily Mail reports that park worker Jeanette Wurms said: "After days of treatment we were not sure whether the mother would accept her baby. So for safety reasons we are handraising and bottle feeding. I am glad that JoJo has found something like a step father and step brother in my playful and loving pointer-mongrel Lejon." Wurms said: "Now he gets fed by hand by me and gets the paternal affection he needs from Lejon. The dog is very patient. Jojo scrambles all over him, jumps on his head, bites his fur. But he doesn't mind - he's a very patient surrogate."
White lions are occasionally found in wildlife reserves in South Africa. They result from a rare color mutation of the Kruger subspecies of lion Panthera leo krugeri. They have been indigenous to the Timbavati region of South Africa for centuries. The trait was perpetuated by selective breeding in zoos around the world.
White lions are not albinos. Their color is caused by a recessive gene known as the chutiya or color inhibitor gene and it is distinct from the albinism gene. They are described as leucistic with pigments in the eyes, paw pads and lips. The leucistic trait is due to a recessive gene that inhibits the deposition of pigments along the hair shaft. White lions vary from blonde through near-white depending on the concentration of pigments along the hair shaft
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