Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by J.simpkin, 17 May 2013.
Which zoos still have pure barbary lions ?
In short; none of them - the subspecies is extinct as a pure strain, and even the status of most lions identified as having Barbary blood is in doubt.
The 'Barbary' lions which came from the Royal Rabat-collection should have had at least some Brbary-blood in it, but as TeaLovingDave says, already this strain wasn't complete pure. All other Barbary lions in other collections came from Rabat, so realy none pure Barbary's left
doesn't kingdom of zion have barbary lions ?
I'm pretty sure quite a few collections have lions identified as Barbary which have little-to-no Rabat blood, too - presumably using the name in the hope they sound like they have something special
The Kingdom of Zion lions are in the same boat as all the other ones, I am afraid - just because a place *says* they have a taxa does not mean they do, after all. Just look at all the places which label subspecific hybrid tigers as "Royal Bengal Tiger" in the hope people think they are special
sorry whats that about the tigers ?
There are no Bengal Tigers in captivity outside of their native range; despite this, a lot of zoos label their generic tigers as being Bengals due to the prestige and "name-recognition" with the public which the name possesses.
I raised the topic to note that the situation with zoos claiming to have Barbary lions is similar.
DNA testing indicates even those Lions do not have the required genetic markers(haplotype numbers) indicating any Barbary ancestry, rather they seem to have stemmed from Lion populations South of the Sahara, but other sources still argue against that.
The following link provides a free PDF to one of the studies which argue there are maternal Barbary genetic markers in at least some of the Rabat stock.
Burger & Hemmer (2005)
Unfortunately, the main study which proved through DNA testing of 5 known founders that they held no Barbary genetic material on the mitochondrial line is behind a paywall, but the abstract is visible, and posted below.
The one thing all studies agree on is that there are no pure Barbary lions left.
Going back to the tigers, when I was at Wildlife Heritage Foundation in England recently, we photographed one female whom the guide says is one of only three pure blooded indian tigers in Europe. He says the other two are in Germany, though he did not specify which zoo. (Sadly, that is the one cat we saw that I did not get good photos of, so I have nothing to post).
Indeed, I am aware of this claim, although I haven't seen the genetic evidence for myself. Unfortunately, even if the claim regarding this cat is correct, the tiger you saw is the last one - the last of the two "pure" siblings at Wingst very recently passed away within the last month or so, and two females at Russelheim also alleged to be pure were sent to South Africa last September.
The last uncontested pure Bengal tiger in Europe was a white male who died at Bristol Zoo in 1984, I believe. All later individuals are controversial.
If they are/were pure, I think they would have to be(or from) recently imported Tigers from India. They can't be 'last descendants' of previous stock as there haven't been any purebred Indian Tigers in Europe since the mid-1980's.
It would be interesting to know what their sources were claimed to be (even if now deceased).
I've read this study throughout by tapping in somehow on some other link(probably via Zoochat) but there is only about one crucial paragraph in the whole report, and that is paraphrased at the end of the above abstract too.
I think when the Rabat Lions were proven not to be pure Barbary, the 'project' lost a lot (all?) of its credibility and is pretty much defunct now, apart from a few zoos who persist with them- the myth being more interesting than the reality.
The second claim (those in Germany) were in Wingst Zoo and Rüsselsheim , however as far as I know one of them past away in 2012 (Rüsselsheim) and the second past away this this year (Wingst). So there is only one animal which is claimed to be a Bengal tiger remaining, in the place you stated, Ashford.
I might be wrong though xD
The Wingst individuals *were* claimed to be "last descendants", whilst the Russelheim individuals were - or are, the fact they left for South Africa means it is unclear as to whether they are still alive now - seized animals from a circus.
According to ZTL, the individual which Arizona Docent saw at WHF was "bred-back" from individuals held to be near-to-pure Bengals at Sandown Zoo in 1992.
'Near-to-pure' -Not a good enough claim then IMO.
I am maybe controversial now, but I believe that it is good that we have a mixed lion population. The genetic differences between the lion subspecies is very small, and so a barbary + other lion subspecies hybrid is very similar to the actual barbary lion. Also since there are so few barbary lions left, it is maybe good to mix them to get new blood in to the population. The very small difference between the subspecies is insignificant.
Look at humans, I dont want to be looked upon as a racist but you can divide humans in to several genetic variants, not races. You can divide humans in to north-europeans, eastern-europeans, western-europeans, southern-europeans, arabians, east-asians, south-east asians, north-africans, west-africans..... and so on. The genetical differences between the variations is small, and as you all now all of these variations can have offspring with each other. As I said I dont want to be a racist, this is just a valid way professional genetics try to group people with similar genes in to several genetical variants.
You can easly transmit this knowledge in to lions. In the future when and if a suitable habitat for barbary lions is found in North-Africa, you can start to introduce barbary+other subspecies mixes in to the wild. The mixed lions will do just as well in the wild as pure ones, if they are properly rehabilitated, and the differences will even out after time, creating a new subspecies again.
I am not a scientist this is just my thoughts on resbonsible lion conservation.
No you can't. Humans don't divide that way at all. In fact humans don't separate into any discernible groups outside of Africa. Race doesn't equal subspecies.
no, they don't. Their non-white lions are (apart for I think one South African import) all descended from circus stock obtained from Paradise Valley Springs in Rotorua. They are as Barbary as an alley cat is Persian.
There are plenty of claimants for Barbary Lions- from large respected Zoos to small/private Big Cat collections in America and elsewhere.
It seems doubtful if any of them really hold Barbary Lions- or even Lions with any 'Barbary' blood at all..
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