8 Different Species Of Lions With Pictures

About 10,000 years ago, lions were also found in Eurasia as well as America. With time, some species became extinct. Eight subspecies of lions are recognized. These include:

Asiatic lion

Popularly known as the Indian lion or the Persian lion, this species is widely found in the Gir Forest National Park in the state of Gujarat, India. It is slightly smaller than the African lion and has a less developed mane. The male species weighs between 160 to 190 kg, while the female weighs between 110 to 120 kg. Compared to the African lion, it has a lesser genetic variation.


Barbary lion

It is believed to be native to the Atlas Mountain of North Africa, which is why it is also called the Atlas lion. Once, it was considered to be one of the biggest lion species. According to records and stuffed museum specimens, its length (head to tail) varied between 7 feet 9 inches to 9 feet 2 inches. It is typically considered extinct now, since records depict that some of the last lions of these species were killed somewhere between the 1950s and 1960s.

West African lion

It is also called the Senegal lion, and is native to West Africa, which is why it is called the West African lion. Its size is somewhat similar to the lions native to Central Africa, but is smaller than the ones from Southern Africa. The total population of this species is believed to be less than 1000 overall, and is considered to be among the most endangered species.

Northeast Congo Lion

This subspecies is native to the lands of Uganda and D R Congo; it is also called the ‘Uganda lion’. It is found in the Kidepo Valley in Uganda, and also in parts of Central Africa, in the Murchison Falls National Parks. It was abundantly found in the Congo River Basin, but, after the surveys conducted in 2008, no lions have been found there. This species is also classified as severely endangered.

East African or Masai lion

This East African species is described as being from ‘Nubia’, and has longer legs and less curvier backs than other species. They are generally between 8 to 10 feet tall, and have a variety of mane styles. That is to say, they have great tufts of manes, or their manes look like they have been combed backwards. Fortunately, this species hasn’t been classified as endangered yet, and is found in parts of Uganda and Kenya and the Tanga Region.

Southwest African or Katanga lion

This species is native to southwestern Africa. It is found in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Zaire, Angola, etc. It is among the largest lion subspecies. The name ‘Katanga’ signifies a place called ‘Katanga’, in Zaire, from where the species seems to have originated. Katanga lions have lighter manes than their counterparts.

Southeast African or Transvaal lion

It is native to southeast Africa, and is called ‘Transvaal lion’ after the ‘Transvaal’ region of South Africa. It has a well-developed, full mane, and is black-maned as well. The males weigh between 150 to 250 kg, while the females weigh between 110 to 180 kg. It is also found in the Kruger National Park and the Kalahari region.

Cape lion

This subspecies of the lion family is completely extinct. It was considered to be the heaviest of all lions―apparently, it weighed close to 500 pounds and was around 10 feet in length. It had a thick black mane, sometimes, a black fringe, and black-colored ear tips. Research studies suggest that it preyed on wild zebras, donkeys, buffaloes, and even cattle. The man-eating ones were reported to be old and weak.

It is indeed unfortunate that these strong and handsome cats are becoming an endangered species, thanks to the extensive poaching and hunting activities undertaken by the human race. In a bid to protect these majestic creatures from further harm and extinction, many organizations are taking efforts to pass legislation and enforcing prohibition of lion hunting.
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