Two Albino Cubs Surprise Zoo Workers in Ukraine

Category: Science / Jul 13, 2012 9:58AM EDT

Journalists got to meet a special surprise pair of albino lion cubs at a zoo in Yalta this week. 

Staff at the Yalta zoo, which bills itself as a 'fairy-tale park' on Ukraine's Crimean coast, were expecting ordinary lion cubs from the sand-colored mother lioness. But the cubs were born pure white.

We expected that the cubs would be beige or straw-coloured, the natural colour lions, but we were really, really pleasantly surprised. That is, it's a great rarity for Ukraine, for Europe, for the whole world, white lions are a real rarity. And we have two female lion cubs, absolutely healthy, absolutely strong. We wait for them to grow up and be exhibited, Yalta Zoo veterinarianAlexander Dyakov said.

The cubs live in the zoo director's office for the time being, where they play with a white tiger cub who was born in May. It's a far cry from southern Africa, where white lions are indigenous.

Amid office furniture and stacked files, the cubs wrestle and play on an imitation leopard-print rug, and are fed formula from baby bottles.

The cubs' favorite toys are a stuffed monkey and a soccer ball, not to mention a weighing-scale in the office.