Albinism is an inherited genetic disorder characterized by a lack of melanin, the body’s color producing pigment. It is extremely rare, averaging only 5 human afflictions per every 100,000 people in the United States and Europe. In the animal kingdom, the percentage of albino animals is similar. But for those species who live in the wild, being virtually white can work against their survival chances, making it harder to blend in with their surroundings, thus easier to detect by predators. Whilst it is true that the cost of this condition can be dire for some, there is no questioning the inherent beauty it creates. Witness the magic of these 22 albino animals in their natural habitats.
Albino lions are obviously rare, but they are not to be confused with white lions. White lions are the result of a color mutation, but not an outright absence of color.
Due to the rarity of albino lions, they have occasionally been snatched by thieves for their high value. In 2013, a Thai pet shop owner was busted by law enforcement for housing 14 of them, in addition to a variety of other uncommon animals. The criminals faced 4 years in prison.