9 Extinct Lions in 2021 (Interesting Reading!)

Lions are an essential part of the food chain. Sadly, most of the types of lions are going extinct. Extinction is a tragic event. 

It was the end of one species, and we can no longer see and interact with these species. Lions also have a lot of species that have gone extinct. If you want to know more about it, keep reading.

Primitive Cave Lion

The Primitive Cave lion or the Panthera leo fossilis is a type of lion that has already been extinct. It no longer exists in this world today. The reasons can be anything. 

Though the extinction of every lion is never spotted, it can be because there are other possible reasons that humans now cannot discover.  There is also not much data that has been gathered for this lion type, but it is said that this species can reach up to 2.50 meters long. 

They have resided in Europe. The extinct fossils of this species can be a part of the oldest fossils in the entire world.

Northeast Congo Lion

The Northeast Congo lion or the Congo lion is also known as the Panthera leo azandica. They are also known as the Uganda lion. You can find these types of lions in the Congo or Uganda. 

However, these lions do not come from there. It just goes to show that Northeast Congo lions love to travel. 

They are big lions. The males can weigh about four hundred twenty pounds, and the females can weigh a little bit less than that.

Barbary Lion

The Barbary lion was often called Panthera le oleo. You can find this Barbary lion in the Atlas Mountains of Africa. These lions are cold-weather animals. They reside in cold weathered places. 

These lions will develop thick, dark, and long-haired manes. This mane would grow long enough that it could frame their faces and fall into their shoulders. These Barbary lions are also called royal lions. 

They got the name from the fact that royal families own Barbary lions in Ethiopia and Morocco. This type of lion has gone extinct. 

You can see many Barbary lions in the wild. Their extinction was a cause of loss of their habitat, excessive hunting of the people, and some respiratory diseases.

West African Lion

This West African lion is also known as Senegalese lions or Panthera leo senegalensis. These West African lions are pretty smaller than other lions, and they are also genetically distinct. This type of lion is also critically endangered and will soon be extinct. 

People hunt these lions. Though these lions are protected, they will soon become extinct. 

Almost three hundred fifty West African lions live in a large UNESCO heritage site located at Burkina Faso, Niger, and Beni. These lions are not particularly fond of staying in their protected land, and they love to wander.

Black Lion

This type of lion is named the Black Lion or the Cape lion. The Black lions are also recognized as the Panthera leo melanchaitus. The males of this Black lion also have a black mane. 

The human attacks caused during the English colonization have led to the disappearance of the Black lions. There was little data recorded with this species, but these lions weigh between one hundred fifty and two hundred fifty kilos in terms of weight. These lions also love alone. 

This is different if you compare it to some common lion packs that we have today. This is a type of lion that has already gone extinct. 

It was professed non-existent in the year 1980. When the type was still active, they exist in the southwest of South Africa.

Katanga Lion

This type of lion no longer exists in parts of their former range. They are well known as Panthera leo melanochaita. They reside in southern and east Africa. 

They are also called Transvaal or Cape Lions. These lions are almost the same as the other Sub-Saraharan African Lions, and they are also unique species of lions. Trophy hunting got so severe that Katanga lions faced the risk of nearly killing all the Katanga lions. 

Today, they no longer exist in their former range. But they can still bounce back. With the help of the people taking care of them, the Katanga lion species might still have the chance to fight off extinction.

Asiatic Lion

This Asiatic lion, commonly known as the Panthera leo persica, is smaller if you compare it to African lions. The manes of these Asiatic lions are much darker and much shorter than any other type of lions. African lions do not have a fold of skin that runs along their bellies, but the Asiatic lion has a fold of skin that would run along their bellies. 

There are only a few Asiatic lions that are residing in the wild. They are scarce species. They are soon to be extinct, though, so they are very well protected to maintain the line of the Asiatic lion.

The American Lion

American lions resided in North America, and they roamed across North America ten thousands of years ago. Their fossil footprints were found in the lake bed of Lake Otero. Around ten thousand years ago, these American lions were extinct. 

Together with many other ice age animals, the American lions ceased to exist. The reason behind their extinction was never gathered. The possible reasons include but are not limited to climate change, human actions, or others. 

There are plenty of reasons why an animal gets extinct. Let us hope that it was not the doings of humans and caused by nature. This type of lion is also known as the Panthera leo atrox. 

You can catch this type all over North America. It was documented that this American lion was registered as the most prominent lion in the past. They measured in length as almost four meters. 

They also have a weight that goes three hundred fifty to four hundred kilos. The extinction of this lion species happened in the Quaternary during the megafauna extinction. If we will base it on the cave canvases about this American lion, this lion has no mane or very few ones.

Eurasian Cave Lion

The last type of lion that is already extinct is the Eurasian Cave lion. This is called the Panthera leo spelaea, and they are also well known as the Eurasian cave lion. You can catch this species in the Iberian Peninsula, Alaska, and England. 

Today, you can find these lions in cave paintings and fossils from thirty years ago. But if we talk about the physical appearance of the Eurasian cave lion, they are very similar to the lions’ appearance nowadays. 

The Eurasian Cave lion populated the earth during the Pleistocene. This was two-point sixty million years ago. This is also an extinct type of lion. 


In summary, lions are beautiful animals. They are critical in the food of the wild. However, it can never be avoided that extinction can come with these types of lions. 

The people must prioritize protection against lions that are having a risk for extinction. Lions are meant to live forever.


Image credits – Canva

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I'm David, and safari has been my passion since I was a little boy - I grew up in South Africa. I love to help spread knowledge about safari, so let me know if you have any questions. Read more