Like black jaguars and black leopards, white lions are a color morph of lions, not a different species. White lions possess a recessive gene that causes their coat to be a very light color. It should be noted that white lions are not albinos. Instead their coloration is due to a condition known as leucism in which all types of pigment are reduce, not just melanin as in albinos. White lions in the wild have been observed in African lions, Panthera leo krugeri.