MANILA, Philippines - Two white lion cubs are born in captivity in the Philippines, adding to the small number of the breed around the world.
Pia Ranada reports.
White lions are among the rarest animals in the world.
There are only around 300 alive today and only 10 can be found in the wild.
But last May, two more white lions were born right here in a Subic zoo.
Snow White and Beauty are only 3 months old. In two months, they will officially be part of Zoobic's program. Because they were born inside the zoo, they have a strong bond with humans. This is why they aren't aggressive and are quite friendly to humans. But that doesn't mean they don't bite, sometimes.
These 2 female cubs are the offspring of a pair of white lions given to the zoo by Shiekh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai.
They spend their day at the zoo's clinic or playpen, indulging their wild side by play-fighting ...
and waging war on an innocent coconut.
But should such rare creatures be kept in captivity?
Wild animals imported from abroad often have difficulty adjusting to new environments.
Some of the animals in Zoobic's taxidermy died from the stress of travel.
Nagkakasakit nga sila, minsan sa kakabiyahe. Tapos nagkakaroon sila ng, di kakain. Pero may mga vet naman kami. Ginagawa naman lahat nila. Pero minsan talagang namamatay pa rin. (They get sick, sometimes from the travel. Then they don't eat. But we have vets. They do everything they can but sometimes, they still die.)
WORLDWIDE FUND FOR NATURE
Our stand is so long as the zoo and the aquaria has a program which is designed to further scientific knowledge on conserving a certain species, then it's okay. The second condition would be if the educational value of having the animal in captivity arouses the passion of the people viewing the animals.
Zoobic veterinarian Norri Molleno says the zoo follows standards set by the South East Asian Zoos Association.
There are set sizes already for enclosures. But then of course we have to do with the Philippine setting so sometimes you can't really follow the measurements but you can at least be close. For the animal sizes, it should be around most likely 2 or 3 times its size. It should have the appropriate furnitures, as we call them that should emulate the ones they have in the wild.
And though Zoobic is primarily a theme park, it has a conservation aspect as well.
The zoo breeds rare Philippine species for eventual release in the wild.
Though it is unlikely that Snow White and Beauty will roam free in the wild, the zoo's management hopes their beauty and rarity will convince people that the wild is worth protecting.
Pia Ranada, Rappler, Manila. - Rappler.com