There are, however, numerous subspecies that differ in appearance and other characteristics. Aside from the Asiatic lion, which resides in a limited area of India, nearly all lion species are endemic to Sub-Saharan Africa, surviving everywhere except in deserts and rainforests.
Here you can find 7 endangered lion species plus 3 extinct lion that either from poaching, hunting or nature itself.
1. Asiatic Lion (Panthera leo persica)
The Asiatic lion is slightly smaller than any African lions, with shorter and darker manes. They also have a skin fold that runs around their abdomen, which African lions do not have. Asiatic lions are extremely rare, with only a few hundred remaining in the wild. The Gir Forest in India, a very tiny wildlife reserve, is home to all of the remaining wild Asiatic lions.
2. Senegal Lion (Panthera leo senegalensis)
It is also known as the West African lion and is native to West Africa. Its size is comparable to that of Central African lions, but smaller than that of Southern African lion species. This species’ total population is estimated to be less than 1000 individuals, making it one of the most endangered species.
A huge UNESCO heritage site is home to approximately 350 west African lions. Unfortunately, these lions are less likely than other species to stick to their protected habitat, making them vulnerable to poaching. Nonetheless, conservation organizations are working hard to safeguard the survival and expansion of wild West African lions.
3. Masai Lion (Panthera leo nubica)
This East African species is said to originate from ‘Nubia,’ and it has longer legs and a less curvier back than other species. They range in height from 8 to 10 feet and have a variety of mane styles. That is, they have large tufts of manes or their manes appear to have been combed backwards.
4. Katanga Lion (Panthera leo bleyenberghi)
Katanga lions are found throughout southern and eastern Africa. They are a distinct subspecies that is quite similar to other Sub-Saharan African lion species. Trophy hunting nearly wiped out Katanga lions, and they no longer exist in sections of their previous habitat.
5. Transvaal Lion (Panthera leo krugeri)
The lion species is native to Southeast Africa and is known as the ‘Transvaal lion’ after the South African region of the same name. It has a full, well-developed mane and is also black-maned. Males weigh between 150 and 250 kg, and females weigh between 110 and 180 kg. It can also be found in the Kruger National Park and the Kalahari Desert.
6. Barbary Lion (Panthera leo leo)
The Barbary lion was indigenous to Africa’s Atlas Mountains, which included parts of Morocco, Algeria, and Maghreb. Because they were cold-weather animals, they grew thick, dark, long-haired manes that flowed over their shoulders. They were known as “royal” lions because they were owned by royal families in Ethiopia and Morocco; they may have even been the lions who fought gladiators in ancient Rome.
Barbary lions are thought to be extinct in the wild because to overhunting, habitat degradation, and a severe respiratory disease. However, some specimens, like as those found in Rabat Zoo, can be found in zoos (Morocco). Crossing with other lion subspecies, on the other hand, makes raising pure Barbary lion individuals more difficult.
7. Congo Lion (Panthera leo azandica)
The Congo lion, sometimes known as the Uganda lion. Not unexpectedly, they are most commonly found in the Congo or Uganda, yet they did not likely originate there.
Northeast Congo Lions, like other lions, are large creatures; males weigh about 420 pounds, while females weigh somewhat less. Northeast Congo guys have incredibly dark manes, some of which are practically black. They are notable for their proclivity for climbing, playing, and sleeping in trees. This distinguishes it from its lion cousins, who generally sleep on the ground.
8. Cape Lion, Extinct (Panthera leo melanochaitus)
The Cape lion, sometimes known as the Black lion, was declared extinct in 1860. This lion species lived in the southwest of South Africa before becoming extinct. Little is known about this lion species, except that it weighed between 150 and 250 kilograms and lived alone, unlike modern lion packs. The males had a black mane, which gave rise to their moniker. As a result of human attacks, the black lion vanished from the African continent during English colonisation.
9. Eurasian Cave Lion, Extinct (Panthera spelaeacave)
The European cave lion is a type of extinct lion species related to current lions. During the Ice Age, there were at least two, if not three subspecies of European cave lions. These were prehistoric apex predators, akin to the Beringian cave lion; both were larger than modern lions, but they may have shared characteristics.
10. American Cave Lion, Extinct (Panthera leo atrox)
The American lion was found all over North America. Many believe this happened before continental drift when it arrived through the Bering Strait. Furthermore, records indicate that the American lion may have been the largest lion species in history, measuring nearly 4 meters in length and weighing between 350 and 400 pounds.
According to cave paintings, this subspecies either lacked a mane or was extremely rare. It became extinct during the Quaternary total extinction of megafauna.
Follow Our Instagram Page for daily fun facts!