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bandmanjoe eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Cape Lion, "Panthera leo melanochaitus", is a subspecies of lion that is now considered extinct.  The "black-maned" lions ranged along the Cape of Africa on the southern tip of the continent.  It's stronghold was Cape Province in the area around Cape Town.  One of the last Cape Lions seen in the province was killed in 1858.  In 1876, Czech explorer Emil Hobub bought a young lion who died two years later.

Attempts were made to breed the lions in captivity, but met with unsuccessful results.  As is the case when species numbers get low, extinction overtook the remainder.  There is some confusion to the true existence of the Cape Lion as a true subspecies of lion, as many different hybrids of lion have been produced over the years.  The dark coloring of the mane has also been attributed to environmental factors, such as ambient temperature, which tends to produce a darker color.

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