White lions belong to the subspecies Panthera Leo Krugeri, the South African lion. Their color is the result of a recessive gene, and they were first observed in the Timbavati area in South Africa.
White lions get their coloring from a mutation affecting the production of melanin. The mutation yields colors ranging from blonde to near-white. White lions are not albinos and usually have normally colored eyes. They also have pigment in their paw pads and lips. In spite of their coloring, they can hunt successfully and were able to survive when reintroduced to the Timbavati area by the Global White Lion Protection Trust.