The Barbary lion was endemic to North Africa but became extinct from the wild in the mid 19th century.
Rabat – Two Barbary lion cubs were shown to the public for the first time last week at a zoo in the Czech Republic. The pair, one male and one female, were born on May 10 in the Dvur Kralove zoo west of Prague.
Barbary lions, sometimes called Atlas lions, are the largest lion subspecies, famous for their larger, darker manes.
The Barbary lion once roamed across North Africa, from the Atlas mountains in Morocco to Egypt.
Rock carving sites across Morocco show carvings of the lion species, alongside carvings of elephants and other animals long extinct from the region.
The Barbary lions were kept by the royal families of Morocco and other African nations, and battled in the famous gladiator tournaments in the Coliseum, finds research published by the Scientific American magazine.
The last recorded wild Barbary lion in Morocco was likely shot in the 1940s, and the last wild sighting of the animal was in Algeria in the late 1950s, the research adds.
The only Barbary lions still alive are found in zoos across the world, including at the Rabat National Zoo in Morocco.
The Moroccan national soccer team is nicknamed “Atlas Lions.”