White lion Brutus fathers three ‘miracle’ cubs at South African sanctuary despite having sterilisation operation
Brutus relaxes at the Drakenstein lion park near Cape Town on Tuesday. Photograph: Mark Wessells/Reuters
A lion who fathered three cubs despite having had a vasectomy is going back to the vet to have the operation a second time.
The lion, Brutus, and his partner, Nala – who live at the Drakenstein lion park near Cape Town in South Africa – surprised staff at the sanctuary when the cubs were born just before Christmas.
Local media reports jokingly referred to a “Christmas miracle” or “white Christmas”, as the animals are white lions – the result of a rare genetic mutation.
The park’s owner, Paul Hart, said: “We are a non-breeding sanctuary and Brutus, before he became sexually mature, had a vasectomy which we assumed worked because for the last three years there has been no offspring. So we were taken completely by surprise by the cubs.”
Nala and her cubs, who have yet to be named, are doing fine, while Brutus has a date with a vet, Hart said, adding: “Hopefully, this time round, we’ll fix the problem.”
Drakenstein is a private sanctuary that houses captive lions who cannot be released into the wild after being rescued from abusive environments.