Extremely Rare White Lion Meets Public at Iraqi Zoo

June 29, 2017 Updated: June 29, 2017

Iraq’s rare white lion came outside for its first birthday, the first time cameras have been allowed in to film it.

Handlers only let it out for two hours a day to protect it, but when it turns 3, it will be let out of its enclosure for longer.

The rare lion ran around with its friend, wrestled, played, and snacked on a dead bird.

White lions are caused by a genetic mutation, and come from the Timbavati and Kruger National Park areas of southern Africa.

The cub’s mother is pregnant and is expected to give birth to another white lion.

They were considered technically extinct for 12 years, before the Global White Lion Protection Trust reintroduced some of the limited population into the wild in 2004.

The 2003 war decimated the Iraq zoo’s animal population.

The zoo is taking no chances with its white lion, which is why it didn’t allow filming until its first birthday.