Ethiopian Lions: Everything You Need To Know

Whilst they were once thought to be extinct, the Ethiopian lion was rediscovered in 2016 when a pride of around 50 were seen for the first time in years. The reason they are so unique is because of their black mane.

Another interesting fact about these lions is how remote they live, compared to other lions. Seeing them in person is rare.

If you want to try and see them, it can take around three days in the card to try and spot one.

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Not only that, due to it being so far away from civilization, you need to be brave if you want to take the journey there.

There is absolutely nothing around to help if your car breaks down, so you need to be extra prepared and careful.

However, it is also important to note that whilst these lions are not a priority in Ethiopia, they are extremely endangered.

So, with this in mind, let’s take a look at the Ethiopian lion in a lot more detail.

Are There Any Lions In Ethiopia?

Whilst there is a decline in the population of lions in Ethiopia, they do exist. There are a few hundred or so lions across the country, with around 20 lions kept in captivity in a zoo called the Addis Ababa Zoo.

The reason these are being kept in a zoo is because they were a part of a collection which belonged to the late emperor, Haile Selassie.

Having first created the zoo back in 1948, there were around five male lions and two female lions.

They were said to have been captured in the south-western area of Ethiopia. However, the geographical location is seen as rather controversial.

As stated above, the black mane lion was rediscovered in Ethiopian mountains. The area is called the Bale Mountains National Park. Whilst it sounds like a good tourist attraction, it actually has very low footfall.

This is because there is absolutely nothing around for hours, meaning it is dangerous to get to for many reasons.

If the car broke down (apparently it is a 3 hour drive from civilization), then you would be stuck.

Would you like to be stranded in the middle of nowhere without water, food, and the potential possibility that a wild animal might see you as a meal? We didn’t think so!

A lot of the African lions live around the sub-saharan area of Africa, though there are many scattered throughout. This includes the Ethiopian mountains where the black maned lions have been rediscovered.

These are seen as extra intriguing due to how remote they are, making it a rare sight indeed.

For those who see one, it means they have traveled to a remote area of Ethiopia, enduring the long trek and scary possibilities.

Is There Black Lions In Ethiopia?

Black lions have been seen across the internet, and stories have been told, however, there is no proof that the black lion exists.

Maybe they did exist at some point, but sadly there is no evidence to suggest such a thing.

There is only a theory that they may have existed due to leopards and jaguars having melanism. This means that black does exist on the skin and fur, but has there ever been a fully black lion?

Another theory is that people may have seen a dark brown or muddy lion. This can confuse people when it comes to the color of the lion. Also, the last theory is that they actually saw a black maned lion.

Some have been known to have dark brown fur, and the black mane would have added to the fact that the person may have thought they’d seen a black lion.

So, do they exist in Ethiopia? No, but black maned lions do!

Are Ethiopian Lions Extinct?

Whilst not extinct, they are on their way to vanishing completely. Due to human intervention, climate change and hunting is causing lions to disappear completely.

It is said that since the year 1980, globally the population of lions has declined around 75 percent. This means that there may be as little as 20,000 lions remaining in the entire world in the wild.

Lions are now seeking prey in dangerous territory near humans due to the decrease in food becoming available.

For example, they are finding their way to eat cattle, and if caught, they may be killed by the owner of the animals.

This is also because humans are widening their own territories, forcing the lions to have little room to live and hunt.

Lions are sadly losing their habitat, and as they hunt in human settlements, they are getting killed in return.

Ethiopian lions are very few and far between. As stated above, there are a few hundred in the wild, with around 20 of them kept in the zoo.

Whilst the black main lion has been rediscovered within the last decade, they are declining fast.

Are Black Maned Lions Stronger?

When it comes to discussing the color of a lion’s mane, many people talk about The Lion King. It makes sense too, as the Disney film depicts the different colors of the main.

Whilst Simba has a light colored mane and proved stronger than Scar who had the dark colored main, this was most certainly a tale of the ‘under dog’ proving to be much stronger, rather than the truth.

It has long been a symbol that a black lion shows strength.

It is the same with the color of the mane too, with many stating that the darker the color of the mane, the stronger the lion might be. There is a little bit of truth to this, but it might surprise you why.

One of those reasons is intimidation. Having a darker mane may threaten a lighter colored lion.

Naturally, it makes a lion look bigger and stronger. So, basically a darker colored mane creates a more threatening look.

Also, the thick dark mane means that the lion eats well and that their diet is healthy. It puts the lion at its prime, showing the other lion that they are strong and may be able to win because of this.

Not surprisingly, due to these factors, the general life-span of a darker maned lion is much longer compared to that of a lighter maned lion. This is all due to their overall health and how threatening they look.

So, to put it simply, due to the mane being the health status and pride of a lion, it can show how powerful he is.

The darker the main, the stronger and healthier he is. The lighter the main suggests weakness, and the potential that he may lack fighting skills.

How Big Is A Black Maned Lion?

A black maned lion is said to be around 3.9 to 4.8 feet high, with a length of around 97 to 112 inches in length.

Comparing this to a regular lion, they are mostly the same size with no real difference at all.

There have been rare sightings of very big lions however. One of those lions was spotted in Kenya, Africa, and was a male that was 11 feet long. It also weighed a hefty 690 pounds too.

A typical lion may weigh around 400-odd pounds. So, you can most certainly see the difference!

What Are Black Lions Called?

When it comes to the black lion, many people refer to it as the Ethiopian lion.

Also, because fully black lions do not exist, the majority of people often mean the black mane lion which are found in the mountains of ethiopia.

They don’t have an official name other than a black maned lion, or Ethiopian lion. If anyone states the latter, it is likely that they mean a lion which has a black colored main.

Final Thoughts

Ethiopian lions are intriguing and unique for many reasons. Not only do they have a black mane that makes them stand out from other lions, but they are also rare to see.

This rarity means that if you do see one, you are lucky. The fact they are rare to see isn’t just because unfortunately they are an endangered species.

It is also because it takes around 3 hours just to drive to the Ethiopian mountains to see them in the flesh.

Whilst 3 hours isn’t the longest journey one can take, it is when that means driving 3 hours away from any civilization.

You have to factor in the possibility of the car breaking down and not being able to receive help whilst stuck in an area of wild animals who might see you as prey.

Ethiopian lions are very special, and there are only a few left in the wild. Hopefully this article has helped you to learn much more about them. If this has interested you, check out our other articles too!

Joe Edwards
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