Mutt adopts white lion cub

Cub Jojo tells canine stepfather Lejon a secret.A sad-seeming story out of Germany has a happy (and cute) ending: a two-year-old pointer mix, Lejon, has adopted Jojo the lion cub after they met at Stukenbrock's Safari Park.

Jojo, who's not quite a month old, was separated from his mom shortly after his birth thanks to an umbilical-cord infection; when park staff tried to reintroduce the lions, Mom "shunned" her baby. Staffer Jeanette Wurms said in the Daily Mail that Safari Park workers weren't sure "whether the mother would accept her baby," so "for safety reasons," they were "handraising and bottle feeding" the little cub – and apparently Jojo formed a bond during that time with Wurms's hound, Lejon.

Wurms reported that her little family is teaming up to get Jojo's needs met: "Now he gets fed by hand by me and gets the paternal affection he needs from Lejon." Jojo is a rambunctious youngster; Wurms described Jojo as clambering on the dog, jumping on his head, and biting his fur, but said that Lejon "is very patient" and doesn't dislike the kittenish play.

And they make a visually attractive pair; Lejon is black and white, while Jojo is of course snowy all over. He's not an albino, though; white lions are leucistic, which means there's pigment in their eyes, paw pads, and lips. Leucism is associated with a recessive gene that restricts pigment to the tips of hairs; a similar gene is responsible for the pigment (or lack of same) in white tigers. White lions can range in (no) color from blonde to almost pure white, and that includes the manes and tails, which are dark brown or black in non-leucistic males.

Whatever Jojo's hue, we're glad he's found a patient pops to hang out with. We'll keep you posted on his progress!

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