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Siegfried & Roy welcome 3 snow-white lion cubs

Friday - 7/18/2014, 7:08am  ET

A white lion cub plays on the ground during an event to welcome three white lion cubs to Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat Thursday, July 17, 2014, in Las Vegas. The three white lion cubs, born in South Africa, are scheduled to be available for public viewing Friday. (AP Photo/John Locher)

MICHELLE RINDELS
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Magicians Siegfried & Roy welcomed three new snowy white lion cubs to their Secret Garden habitat on the Las Vegas Strip.

The 14-week-old felines were born near Johannesburg, South Africa, and brought to the Mirage casino three weeks ago. They will be available for public viewing starting on Friday.

"Millions of people each year visit the Secret Garden and are awed by these great creatures," Siegfried Fischbacher said in a statement. "One by one, we are raising awareness for the plight of rare and endangered animals -- our true mission."

The brothers are named Freedom, Madiba -- the tribal name of Nelson Mandela -- and Timba-Masai, which combines the names of the Timbavati region of South Africa and the name of the Masai tribe that lives there.

The lion have rare white coats after inheriting their parents' recessive genes. They are expected to weigh 500 pounds each when they reach their full size in two to four years.

Fischbacher and Roy Horn discontinued their magic stage show after a white tiger named Mantecore attacked Horn during a 2003 performance, leaving him partially paralyzed.

But they continue maintaining the Secret Garden zoo, which now features 13 tigers and six lions.


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