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Cuteness Alert: White lion quintuplets thriving in Czech zoo - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Cuteness Alert: White lion quintuplets thriving in Czech zoo

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(Screengrab from NBC News Channel) (Screengrab from NBC News Channel)

White lion quintuplets born in the Czech Republic play a vital role to the species' survival...and they're quite adorable to watch at playtime, too. 

NBC News reports quintuplets are a rarity for white lion births, so their May 4th birthday came as a big surprise to the staff at a Dvorec zoo. 

Out of the five, there is a boy named Mesfin, which means king; and four girls: Asmara, which means Justice; Dabe, which means health; Dunia, which means life; and Congit, which means beauty. 

White lions are genetically rare from South Africa's Timbavati Preserve in the Kruger Region. So rare, in fact, experts believe less than 13 live in the wild. There are 300 living in captivity.  

Many foundations and researchers attribute the small number to their "unique" look creating a popular hunting interest; hunters removing white lions from their natural habitats, breeding them, and killing them for show. 

White lions are classified under the "Panthera leo" species. According to a study done in 2013, there isn't any scientific evidence that white lions are genetically inferior to ordinary lions. Another study shows that there is no significant difference between the mean kill rate between the two lion groups. 

All five baby lions and their parents seem to be happy, healthy, and zoo officials say they're all thriving together as a family.

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