Southwest African lion

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Southwest African lion
Die pure Kraft - Löwe im Etosha-Nationalpark.JPG
Lion in Etosha National Park, Namibia.
Lioness on the prowl.jpg
Lioness in Etosha National Park, Namibia.
Scientific classification
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Trinomial name
Panthera leo bleyenberghi
(Lönnberg, 1914)

The Southwest African lion or Katanga lion (Panthera leo bleyenberghi) is a subspecies of the lion that lives in southwestern Africa. It is found in Namibia, Angola, Zaire, western Zambia, western Zimbabwe and northern Botswana. The type specimen was from Katanga (Zaire). Lions in the Kalahari xeric savanna may be either Panthera leo bleyenberghi or Panthera leo krugeri.[1] In 2008, surveys were conducted in the Upemba and Kundelungu National Parks located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but no evidence of lion presence was found.[2]

Physical characteristics

Southwest African lions are among the largest lion subspecies.[3] Males are around 2.5–3.10 metres (8.2–10.2 feet) long including the tail. Females are 2.3–2.65 metres (7.5–8.7 feet). The weight of males is generally 140–242 kg (308–533 pounds), and the females are 105–170 kg (231–378 pounds). They have a shoulder height of 0.90–1.20 metres (3.0–4.0 feet).

The longest wild lion, on record, apparently was a male shot near Mucusso, southern Angola, in October 1973, which measured nearly 3.6 m (12 ft).[4]

Hunting and prey

Like other African lions, Katanga lions, whose manes tend to be lighter in color than those of other subspecies, prey mostly on large animals, like zebras, wildebeest, antelope, and warthogs.

In captivity

A captive Southwest African Lion at Leipzig Zoo

A small captive population exists. There are 29 lions from this subspecies registered by the International Species Information System. These animals are derived from animals which were captured in Angola and Zimbabwe.[5]

However, the purity of these captive lions was not confirmed. Genetic analysis indicated that they could have been maternally derived from West or Central African lions, which appeared to be more closely related to North African and Asiatic lions than to other Sub-Saharan African lions.[6][7]

See also

References

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  2. http://www.bakasbl.org/news/doc_en/107.doc
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  4. Wood, The Guinness Book of Animal Facts and Feats. Sterling Pub Co Inc (1983), ISBN 978-0-85112-235-9
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