Short Film Showcase Q&A: Extremely Rare White Lions Caught on Camera


In September 2014, a white lion cub was spotted in Singita Kruger National Park. While hundreds of these animals exist in captivity, only 13 remain in the wild, making the sighting unique. Black Bean Productions set out to capture footage of these remarkable big cats, whose coloration is not albinism but is caused by a less severe mutation. I spoke with Sam Suter of Black Bean Productions about seeing these rare animals up close.

How did you hear of the white lions in Kruger National Park?

Through Singita Kruger National Park. James Suter and I worked for Singita, on this private concession within Kruger, where Singita is based. James was a game ranger and field guide at Singita and has always kept up-to-date with what is happening in the area since his departure in 2011. He has a passion for wildlife and the bush and still hosts private photographic safaris. Oli [Caldow], director of photography for Black Bean Productions, and James have done work for Singita since starting Black Bean Productions in 2012.

The lions move in and out of this concession, but after spending so much time guiding in this region and coming to know the lions that frequent this area, it was exciting for James to hear that two were born here.

It is highly unusual to find these animals in this area. They were thought to be indigenous to the Timbavati area, at least 60 kilometers to the west. Not only were we in search of the white lion cubs, but there was an opportunity to track and locate a superpride that James had witnessed some three years back as a guide. To see the white lions born into this pride in this area, where he learned so much, was something quite moving.

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