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White Lion, White Tiger Cubs Born In Germany's Serengeti-Park Zoo (PHOTOS)

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In this incredible photograph, taken on Jan. 30, four white lion and four white tiger cubs can be seen lolling about in their home at Germany's Serengeti-Park zoo.

white lion tiger cubs
(AP Photo/dpa Julian Stratenschulte)

The animals were born at the zoo in October and November, according to the Associated Press.

Serengeti-Park is located in Hodenhagen, northern Germany. According to the German National Tourist Board's website, the zoo's property encompasses a safari, which features "giraffes, rhinos, white lions, zebras and tigers," as well as a monkey enclosure and adventure rides.

At this time, it's unclear as to whether the white lion and tiger cubs can be seen by the public.

white tiger lion
(AP Photo/dpa Julian Stratenschulte)

As adorable as these cubs are, however, it's important to remember that breeding of white tigers and lions can often be problematic.

According to Big Cat Rescue, white tigers (a recessive mutant of the Bengal tiger) and white lions (a rare color mutation unique to the Timbavati region in Africa) are produced by generations upon generations of inbreeding -- a process that causes a plethora of defects and deformities.

In 2011, the American Zoological Association (AZA) formalized a ban on the breeding of white tigers, white lions and king cheetahs by their member zoos.

The AZA report said:

Breeding practices that increase the physical expression of single rare alleles (i.e., rare genetic traits) through intentional inbreeding, for example intentional breeding to achieve rare color-morphs such as white tigers, deer, and alligators, has been clearly linked with various abnormal, debilitating, and, at times, lethal, external and internal conditions and characteristics.

Moreover, like their colored brethren, white lions and white tigers have been threatened by hunting and habitat destruction -- and are both believed to be almost extinct in the wild. In addition, while many of them continue to thrive in zoos and sanctuaries, exploitation of these animals are relatively commonplace.

To learn more and find out how you can help, visit the websites of Big Cat Rescue and the Global White Lion Protection Trust.

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Filed by Dominique Mosbergen
 
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