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Barbary lion

Panthera leo leo


Barbary lions were once native to North Africa, including the Atlas Mountains but are now extinct in the wild.

The last recorded Barbary lion was shot in Morocco in 1942. The only Barbary lions left in the world are now found in zoos and are part of a global and collaborative breeding programme to ensure their future survival.

Barbary lions are recorded throughout history. The Romans used Barbary lions in the Colosseum to battle with gladiators. Thousands of these cats were slaughtered during the reign of Caesar. These lions were also kept in the menagerie at the Tower of London and were offered as gifts to royal families of Morocco and Ethiopia. It is believed that Barbary lions today are directly descended from these ‘royal lions’.

The Barbary lion is one of the largest lion sub-species. This big cat measure one metre in height at the shoulder and up to three and a half metres in length. Average weight can be up to 230 kilograms.

Belfast Zoo is home to a pride of Barbary lions. Our male lion is named Qays and he lives with two females named Fidda and Theibba.

Animal class

Mammal

Conservation status

Extinct in the wild.

Habitat

Mountainous

Population

These beautiful big cats are now extinct in the wild. The last recorded Barbary lion was shot in 1942.

Diet

Carnivore. When they lived in the wild, Barbary lions hunted large mammals such as deer and gazelle.