1853 Hunting the extinct Barbary Lion

1853 Hunting the extinct Barbary Lion

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Credit: PAUL D STEWART/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: 1853 Engraving. Local man hunting Barbary lion in the high Atlas Mountains of Morocco/Algeria. The extinct Barbary lion (Panthera leo leo) was native to North Africa until early this century. It was the 'classic' lion represented in zoos and European heraldry, with a large dark mane extending to the belly. From the 1850's the introduction of firearms and bounties resulted in their rapid decline. The last recorded shooting of a wild Barbary lion took place in Morocco 1942. Some may have survived later, but they are extinct now. A few zoo specimens are claimed to be from pure Barbary lion stock, but there has been interbreeding with lions from other populations. The best hope, to recover and reintroduce the Barbary Lion, comes from 'The Barbary Lion Project.' It uses DNA references from museum specimens to attempt to 'breed back' a genetically congruent Barbary lion from captive specimens.

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Keywords: 1800s, 19th century, algeria, atlas, atlas lion, barbary, breeding, captive, european lion, extinct, leo, lion, lion project, morocco, mountains, north africa, panthera, project, reintroduction

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