Barbary lion project

extinct lion subspecies

However in the late 20th century, some scientists found a group of lions in a zoo in Rabat that bore the distinctive characteristics of the Barbary Lion species.

Between 19th and 20th century, they were kept in hotels and circus menageries. By early 18th century, it completely disappeared from the eastern side leaving a stray population in the Atlas mountain range Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.

Researchers managed to select 5 lions around the world with a genome close to the DNA of Barbary lions.

Barbary lion last photo

There is a healthy group of lions in Temara Zoo in Rabat, plus even more related individuals spread across a dozebn or so zoos across Europe, with around animals in captivity overall. Official record suggests that the last specimen was shot in in western Maghreb. The Barbary Lion is considered to be amongst the largest in physical size of all lion subspecies in recorded history. The male Barbary Lion is believed to have weighed an average of pounds, with females weighing up to pounds. A less disturbing image meets visitors to the hectare acre zoo outside Rabat, where the adult lions rest in the shade as the cubs romp nearby. In the past scientists believed that the distinct sub-species status of the Barbary lion was established by its seemingly fixed external morphology, particularly its heavier mane. The last survived individuals from Tunisia were wiped out in , and in s they were completely eliminated in their natural environment, although the last representative of the subspecies is believed to have died in They had already vanished in large numbers many hundreds of years earlier, captured and shipped to ancient Rome, where they provided grisly entertainment in the Colosseum and other amphitheatres around the empire. Between 19th and 20th century, they were kept in hotels and circus menageries. Extinction Causes Hunting was one of the primary reasons for its extinction. At that time, it was said that there were around 60 lions in captivity that might carry the genes of Barbary lions. But the task of preserving the Atlas lion and boosting its numbers, in collaboration with other zoos around the world, remains a key objective for the park officials. Concerted effort and active partnership is needed now to get inactive males and females together to develop breeding pairs. But it turned out that Sultan Mohammed V the current king's grandfather had some Atlas lions in his private park," said the head of Rabat zoo.

Skull size varied from At that time, it was said that there were around 60 lions in captivity that might carry the genes of Barbary lions. Various factors drove the north African lions to extinction in the wild, notably the deforestation of the Atlas mountains and the influx of firearms throughout the 19th century, with people hunting the big cats for their fur and for sport.

barbary lion facts

The exotic park of the sultan, who became king at independence, had been supplied by tribesmen who hunted the mountain predators and offered them to their ruler as a tribute and proof of allegiance. These lions were to be used to recreate the subspecies. This may have been out of necessity, as their habitat supported sparse prey as a food source — mostly Barbary sheep, deer, gazelle and wild boar.

Barbary lion project

But, remarkably, a few dozen individuals survived in captivity, and the newly opened Rabat zoo is fighting to save the bloodline and raise numbers to a viable population.

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Barbary Lion Facts, Habitat, Last Sightings, Pictures and Diet