The barbary lion (panthera leo leo
) was the largest of all the lion species. Weighing about 200 kg and reaching a length of 3.5 meters, these fearsome predators were once widespread across Northern Africa
, and were the species of lion that the Roman
s captured for use in the arenas. Male barbary lions were noted for their massive and very dark colored mane, and female barbary lions had a small light-colored mane as well.
The extiction of the barbary lion began in the middle ages as Arabic communities expanded in the Sahara. As wild habitats shrunk, the lions began to prey on domestic livestock, causing the local Ottoman governments to call for the extermination of all lions and put a prize on any lion killed.
By 1700 the barbary lion was already quite rare. The last Egyptian barbary lions were killed in the 1790s. In Tunisia the last lion was killed in 1891 and the last Algerian barbary lion was killed in 1912.
A hunter killed the very last barbary lion in Morocco in 1920.