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The Asiatic lion persica was the most distinctive, and the Cape lion had characteristics allying it more with P. Lions in eastern Kenya are genetically much closer to lions in Southern Africa than to lions in the Aberdare National Park in western Kenya.
In a subsequent study, tissue and bone samples of 32 lion specimens in museums were used.
Results indicated that lions form three phylogeographic groups, one each in North Africa and Asia, in Central Africa and in Southern Africa.
Samples of 53 lions, both wild and captive individuals, from 15 countries were used for phylogenetic analysis.
Following Carl Linnaeus's first descriptions of the species, 26 lion specimens were described and proposed as subspecies between the mid 18th and mid 20th centuries, of which 11 were recognised as valid in 2005.
They were distinguished on the basis of appearance, size and colour of mane.
Lion populations are untenable outside designated protected areas.
Although the cause of the decline is not fully understood, habitat loss and conflicts with humans are the greatest causes of concern.
It has been extensively depicted in sculptures and paintings, on national flags, and in contemporary films and literature.
Nonetheless, they might carry genes that are extinct in the wild, and might be therefore important to maintain overall genetic variability of the lion. In North Africa, lions are regionally extinct in the wild due to excessive hunting; the last known Barbary lion was killed in Morocco in 1942.
In 2017, the Cat Classification Task Force of the Cat Specialist Group assigned the lion populations in Asia and West, Central and North Africa to P. Small groups of lions may have survived until the 1960s.
The lion (Panthera leo) is a species in the family Felidae and a member of the genus Panthera.
It has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1996, as populations in African range countries declined by about 43% since the early 1990s.The majority of lions kept in zoos are hybrids of different subspecies. The following table is based on the classification of the species Panthera leo provided in Mammal Species of the World.