Barbary Lions: Everything You Need To Know

Lions are beautiful animals that are so intriguing to learn about. Did you know that there are different types of lions?

One of the most distinguishable types of lions is the Barbary lion. Barbary Lions, which are also known as the Atlas lion, are a subspecies of African lions.

Barbary Lions: Everything You Need To Know

Barbary lions are fierce and have always stood out from other lions due to the males having dark manes.

They are considered to be the biggest and most aggressive species of lions, making them very impressive animals.

Barbary lions are theorized to be the species of lion that connects Asian lions to African lions.

This type of lion is incredibly important to learn about as they are now believed to be extinct in the wild.

In this guide, we are going to walk you through all of the important information you need to know about Barbary lions.

Do Barbary Lions Still Exist?

As mentioned above, Barbary lions have been classified as extinct in the wild.

There has been no evidence of Barbary lions being spotted in North Africa in this century, which is why they are classed as extinct.

However, there are a number of Barbary lions alive in captivity. It is said that there are only around 100 Barbary lions left in captivity in the world.

Interestingly, in 2020 three Barbary lion cubs were born into captivity at a zoo in the Czech Republic.

The idea of the reintroduction of Barbary lions has been discussed many times.

However, there are many complications that come with attempting to reintroduce Barbary lions into the wild in North Africa.

One complication is that the species of prey for Barbary lions would need to increase in those areas and many of the species of prey are endangered.

Another complication is being able to control the human interactions with Barbary lions.

This means being able to control the poaching of these lions and ways to stop Barbary lions from preying on the livestock of communities.

Are There Any Pure Barbary Lions?

Today, Barbary lions are found in different zoos around the world, but a large portion of them are found in Moroccan zoos.

There have been attempts at conserving these lions, although none are believed to be pure Barbary lions as those with the pure strain are now extinct.

Are Barbary Lions Rare?

Since there is no pure strain of Barbary lions left and they are extinct in the wild, these lions are incredibly rare.

There are less than 100 of them who remain in captivity. Barbary lions now remain in captivity only.

However, the history of Barbary lions’ lives in captivity is one that is extensive.

The capturing of Barbary lions possibly started with the Romans, as they used Barbary lions for entertainment.

They had their gladiators kill Barbary lions in the Colosseum. However, Romans were not the only Europeans to capture and keep Barbary lions.

Barbary lions were kept in the menagerie in the Tower of London, in the Middle Ages. The Barbary lions kept in the Tower of London were transferred to a zoo in 1835.

There have been reports of Barbary lions being kept in hotels and circuses in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Famous accounts of Barbary lions being captured include cases involving the royal families of Morocco and Egypt.

In fact, Barbary lions were offered as gifts to these royal families. The royal lions of Morocco were kept until the royal went into exile.

At this point, the royal lions were given to zoos.

Unfortunately, the royal lions that were given to zoos were almost completely killed off due to respiratory disease in the 1960s.

The lions that survived were provided with different enclosures in order to give them a better quality of life.

Who Killed The Last Barbary Lion?

Unfortunately, Barbary lions are now deemed extinct in the wild and humans have a large part to play in their extinction.

The last reported shooting of a Barbary lion occurred in 1942. This lion was shot in a mountain pass in the Moroccan High Atlas.

Although the name of this person is unknown. The locations where Barbary lions were found and lived are important in the history of their extinction.

Since these lions were known to roam the coast of African countries, they were first driven from these locations due to humans using them for settling.

It is believed that by 1843 Barbary lions were completely removed from coastlines. As mentioned earlier, Barbary lions lived in Algeria.

They lived in forest areas in Algeria and the forest areas in Tunisia in the Constantine Province.

It is believed that some of the forest and mountain areas in Algeria were home to Barbary lions until 1884.

Barbary lions are said to have been eliminated from Tunisia in the 1890s.

Barbary lions are considered to have remained in certain areas of Morocco and western Algeria until the 1940s.

However, during the military conflicts that happened between the 1950s and 1960s, the habitats of Barbary lions were destroyed and therefore they became extinct in Algeria during this time.

It is thought that the Romans could have had a big impact on the population of Barbary lions in the wild.

The Romans are known to have killed thousands of lions in their games that included lions.

However, the wars that occurred during the period, such as the French-Algerian War, are also said to be at fault for their extinction.

If Barbary lions were eradicated from Algeria due to wars, this would be one of the few instances where animals became extinct due to war.

Regardless of who had the most impact on this species of lion, it is clear that their extinction was due to humans.

Is Simba A Barbary Lion?

Is Simba A Barbary Lion?

No, Simba is not a Barbary Lion. Simba does not have the mane of a Barbary Lion. Also, Simba is from the African Savanna, and Barbary lions are from North Africa.

How Big Is A Barbary Lion?

Barbary lions are supposedly the biggest species of lions. They have incredibly muscular bodies to match their size, making them look really fierce.

In terms of their size, what is known about Barbary lions comes from the accounts of hunters in the 20th century and the 19th century.

Although there are Barbary lions in captivity today, animals in captivity do not often reach the size they would normally in the wild.

From the account of hunters, it is believed that Barbary lions could grow up to 3 meters in length.

The average length of Barbary lions is between 2.4 meters and 2.5 meters. Barbary lions, on average, can reach a height of 1.2 meters.

These lions weigh up to 300kg. Female Barbary lions are smaller than the males of this species.

As mentioned before, male Barbary lions are very easily identified due to their appearance.

Male Barbary lions have thick manes that come down past their elbows. Male Barbary lion’s manes are what makes this species of lions so distinguishable.

Barbary lions have a dark mane that makes them stand out compared to other lions. On some lions, this dark mane almost looks black.

The main colors of Barbary lions are beige and dark brown. Barbary lions are believed to have a lifespan between 12 to 15 years.

What Do Barbary Lions Eat?

Since Barbary lions are carnivores and are very powerful, the prey they like to hunt are usually big animals.

In the wild, they were documented to hunt prey such as deer, gazelles, wild boars, and stags.

However, if these animals were hard to find, Barbary lions would turn to hunt livestock.

These would be animals such as cattle and sheep that were located on farms.

In terms of how Barbary lions like to hunt, not much information has been documented.

Unfortunately, Barbary lions became extinct in the wild before any proper documentation could be done.

However, it is speculated that Barbary lions hunt in their pride and often kill their prey by strangling them.

Where Do Barbary Lions Live?

Since Barbary lions are extinct in the wild, they are now known to live in various zoos around the world.

However, before they were extinct Barbary Lions were known to be found in the Atlas Mountains in North Africa.

It is believed that the range of territory that Barbary lions were found in stretched over 1600 miles.

Barbary lions were found in countries such as Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria. Barbary lions also roamed parts of Libya and Egypt.

Unfortunately, due to more humans settling in these areas, the sightings of Barbary lions started to decrease quite quickly.

Final Thoughts

Barbary lions are an interesting species of lions, with a rich and unfortunate history.

Although there are some left in this world, the history of the Barbary lion shows how humans have had tremendous impacts on animals.

Barbary lions are one of the most impressive species of lions as their appearance is enough to bring awe to an audience.

The fate of these lions is not yet decided, due to the conservation efforts and around 100 lions being kept in zoos.

Thank you for reading.

Joe Edwards