• The Altiplano zoo in Mexico has drawn thousands of visitors after introducing its two new white lion cubs to the public.
  • White lions are endemic to South Africa but very rare in the wild. The two cubs were hand-reared after being born in the zoo.
  • Children aged between 6 and 12 have been invited to submit possible names for the cubs.

Two adorable white lion cubs have been charming thousands of visitors at the Zoológico del Altiplano in south-eastern Mexico, and now they need names.

The cubs have become celebrities in Mexico since their birth in March, complete with rumours that they had been sent to Peru after they disappeared from sight.

In fact, they were being hand-reared by zookeepers after they were rejected by their mother.

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Since being reintroduced to the public last month, the antics of the tame – but extremely mischievous – pair have attracted well over 14,000 visitors to the zoo.

The cubs are the second set born at the zoo, which now has a population of five white lions, and will be looking to import more to ensure genetic diversity in future generations.

White lions are endemic to South Africa, but very rare in the wild; by one estimate there are only 13 left in the wild.

A white lion cub was spotted in the Ngala private game reserve in March, in what rangers described as a once-in-a-lifetime event.

White lions are leucistic rather than albino. Both parents must have a recessive mutation that affects only some pigmentation.

The Mexican cubs were born to a pair labouring under the names Miztli and Thonatiu.

The state government of Tlaxcala has invited submissions for names for the cubs – but only from children aged 6 to 12.

Submission can be made until 17 August via a Google Form (in Spanish) or via email to despacho.cge@tlaxcala.gob.mx, with an explanation of the proposed name.

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