Imperial in the news: Ethiopian lions are genetically distinct

The Addis Ababa lions' dark manes are not their only defining feature

Susann Bruche [NHLI] was the lead author in a study that has discovered that lions kept by Ethiopia’s former leader Emperor Haile Selassie are genetically distinct to other African lions. The findings, published in European Journal of Wildlife Research, were reported in the Independent.

Fifteen of the 20 lions at Addis Ababa Zoo are the decedents of seven males and two females first captured by the former Emperor in 1948 and have distinctive dark brown manes. Two other species that possess these defining characteristics, the North African Barbary lions and South African Cape lions, have gone extinct in the wild, and efforts are in place to start a breeding programme to boost the number of animals as less than a few hundred are thought to live outside of captivity.


Photo copyright to Joerg Junhold and Klaus Eulenberger, Leipzig Zoo.

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