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Given that there is significant debate about the truly distinct nature of the cape lion as a separate species, one very good reason for trying to save it would have been to investigate its seemingly unique characteristics in order to compare them to other known lions and try to understand better how the different sub-species have evolved. There are significant questions about how much of a role climate plays in mane growth and other external characteristics and this could have helped to answer them
A second reason would simply be the fact that the extinction of a species generally indicates some kind of ecological imbalance that might have been avoided with more stringent efforts to protect them.
A third and simpler one is that they were a beautiful creature that added variety and interest to the natural world and their disappearance is disappointing.
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