Newborn white lion cubs are pride of the circus

Newborn white lion cubs are pride of the circus
Four white lions born into the Krone Circus during its stop in Magdeburg yesterday find themselves in a Germany reliving a decades-old fight over exotic animals displayed for profit.

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The three male and one female cubs are the latest addition to the tribe of rare big cats native to the Timbavati region of South Africa.

Eight-year-old mother Princess took an instant dislike to her offspring's celebrity, growling as she moved to shield them from photographers' cameras.

A genetic mutation is responsible for the coloration of the ultra-rare felines, which aren't currently protected because they don't belong to a separate species from other African lions.

Princess and 12-year-old father King Tonga, are both also white.

PHOTO GALLERY: White lion cubs born in circus

Mother Princess licks lion cub. Photo: DPA

They were already the proud parents of a litter of six cubs born in 2012 in Konstanz. The circus was criticized at the time by animal rights activists for bringing the pregnant mother on the road.

Animal rights organisation PETA held demonstrations earlier this week to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the death of escaped circus elephant Tyke under a hail of police bullets in Hawaii.

PETA activists form the shape of an elephant in anti-circus protest at Berlin's Brandenburger Tor. Photo:DPA

Underwear-clad activists formed the shape of an elephant on the pavement in front of the Brandenburger Tor in Berlin.

Campaigners also presented a petition with 600,000 signatures to the Federal Food and Agriculture Ministry on Wednesday calling for a ban on wild animals being kept in circuses.

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