Madiba came to In-Sync Exotics as part of a joint venture between Siegfried and Roy (S&R) Secret Gardens, at the Mirage Hotel and Casino, and In-Sync Exotics to decrease animal participation in the entertainment industry.  Madiba along with his brother, Timba, and 3 leopards (Neruda, Ibasa, and Shadow) were adopted by In-Sync as a part of this endeavor.  Madiba and his brothers, Timba Masai and Freedom, were acquired by S&R in Africa in 2014.  The three brothers were approximately 2 months old when they arrived in Las Vegas and were very well cared for by the staff prior to their adoption by In-Sync in 2022.  Unfortunately, Freedom passed away a few years after arriving in Las Vegas.  The caretakers felt it would be best after his passing to separate Madiba and Timba.  Madiba has lived by himself since but never alone as his brother Timba was always close.

Madiba, like his brother Timba, is a white lion. White color, called leucism, is considered a genetic mutation much like white tigers or black leopards/jaguars. Most white lions found in the wild are usually found in the Timbavati Nature Reserve; considered their natural habitat. White lions were technically considered extinct between 1992-2004, when Global White Lion Protection Trust achieved the first successful reintroduction into their natural habitat. There have been reports of this mutation occurring in other nature reserves, most notably in Kruger National Park. There have also been reports of this occurring naturally in many zoos across the world. Unfortunately, this unique white coloring attracted a lot of attention with “backyard” breeders and “pay to play” facilities causing an influx in inbreeding to obtain the elusive white lion. Inbreeding has led to many genetic abnormalities; most commonly Arnold Chiari Malformation which causes extensive issues to the brain/skull and spinal cord. Although, white lions were considered “extinct” they are technically a subspecies of the tawny South African Lions (Panthera leo melanochaita) and not considered a species of their own. White lions have pigment visible in their eyes, paw pads, and lips, but we suggest not staring at either of these boys to find that out!

Madiba has suffered from seizures from a young age, as young as 9 months old. He had been treated by his previous caretakers and continues to be taken care of here for the condition through medication. In-Sync Exotics has had extensive experience with cats with medical history of seizures and because we do, we continuously observed and monitor his medications through monthly blood work to assure his medications are at a therapeutic level. This is where our training program becomes most advantageous. Each of our keepers are assigned a cat that is easily motivated by food to train, and our keepers train them to allow for blood draws, vaccinations, and other small veterinary procedures preventing the need for anesthesia.

This disadvantage (seizures) doesn’t stop him from living a full life, albeit a goofy one. He was skeptical of his surroundings in the beginning, unlike his brother that took full command of the situation. He has, however, completely turned around once he started trusting the keepers and volunteers, showing us his personality and his immense capacity to love. Madiba enjoys sunbathing, “supervising” the cleaners as they clean his enclosure, painting (like his brother), food, and time out on his playground. He has formed special but distinct bonds with keepers, volunteers, and his veterinary team as well. We are lucky to have the privilege to care for this sweet boy.

Species: South African Lion
(Panthera leo melanochaita)

Sex: Male
Born: April 14, 2014
Rescued: May 11, 2023
Weight at Rescue: 400+ lbs