Mother Nature could not have made wildlife any more perfect, creating lions with lush brown manes, tigers of a brilliant orange, zebras with their iconic black-and-white stripes, and all sorts of other animals with spectacular colors and patterns. However, astonishing new reports have revealed that some are taking it upon themselves to tamper with nature, breeding mutant animals just for the sake of having them brutally killed by hunters for sport.

Ranging from lions with pale blue eyes, white kudus, coffee-colored springboks, wildebeest with golden coats and black impalas, these exotic engineered animals are part of the latest craze in South Africa and its $1 billion elite big-game hunting industry.

Such unique animals are extremely rare in the wild, and so they are worth a lot of money to ranchers who are now breeding them especially for their unusual colors and appearance.

As part of a package with Africa Hunt Lodge, for example, a US-based tour operator, you can kill a golden gnu for nearly $50,000 - that's more than 100 times what a hunter would pay to take down a common gnu. Rich hunters are also charged $45,000 to shoot a black impala and $30,000 for a white lion. So while it may put a dent in your wallet, apparently killing abnormal, big game animals has no price limit.

"We breed them because they're different," Barry York, who owns a 2,500-acre ranch about 135 miles east of Johannesburg, told Bloomberg. "There'll always be a premium paid for highly-adapted, unique, rare animals."

What's more, companies like Africa Hunt Lodge make this "sport" seem like a first-class experience, offering a luxury lodge with gourmet food and even hunting permits.

"What we offer is not an average or budget minded African Safari... The majority of our Africa hunt packages are 7-10 days for 5-10 animals," the tour operator wrote on its website. (Scroll to read on...)

Predictably, the practice has sparked outrage among conservationists and traditional hunters who see it as something out of a science fiction movie.

"These animals are Frankenstein freaks of nature," said Peter Flack, a hunter and conservationist. "This has nothing to do with conservation and everything to do with profit."

The South African Hunters and Game Conservation Association has called on the government to regulate such breeding as it interferes with natural selection and pushes up the price of hunting. They are worried that breeding could threaten hunting in the long term.

Perhaps even more astonishing is the fact that breeders are hailing their business model as a conservation success. Some say that the number of wild animals in South Africa has increased alongside the popularity of hunting big game.

"Conservation is a by-product of what I do," York argued.

What's more, private hunting ranches were even credited with saving the rhinoceros from extinction in the 1960s. However, for some critics, calling this brutal practice "conservation" is a big leap.

"A white springbok will not contribute to the springbok population because it's a mutant," Ainsley Hay, manager of the Wildlife Protection Unit of South Africa's National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, told Bloomberg.

And while the mutant animals may be beautiful and unique, they come with a host of health problems. Animals with these recessive genes have extremely low survival rates in the wild, as they are easier for predators to spot and often develop skin diseases and cancers.

Mutant or not, some of Africa's most iconic animals have become prime targets as the hunting industry continues to grow. Killing lions was the biggest revenue generator for the country's hunting industry in 2013, followed by buffalo, kudu, and white rhinos.

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