Lions In Ethiopia Are Genetically Distinct, DNA Evidence Confirms

October 12, 2012 in Animals & Insects

The Addis Ababa lion in Ethiopia has been found to be genetically distinct from all other lions, by new DNA evidence. Immediate action to ‘protect’ this nearly extinct lion population is necessary to prevent its approaching extinction, say the researchers involved in the work.


It has long been observed that the lions in some parts of Ethiopia have a much larger, darker mane than other lions; extending from the head, neck and chest to the belly. They also tend towards being more compact and of smaller stature than other lions. But whether these observable differences were due to genetic differences or other causes wasn’t known until this new genetic research.

The research, done by comparing the DNA samples taken from 15 different Addis Ababa Zoo lions to a variety of different wild lion breeds, shows very clearly that the captive lions at the zoo are genetically distinct from all other known lion populations.

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