I want to focus on two animals today: the Horned Turtle (Meiolania sp.) and the Atlas Lion (Panthera leo leo), also known as the Nubian or Barbary lion. While some animals on the Dodo Carousel became extinct thousands of years ago, the last wild Atlas lion was shot and killed in 1922. This is terribly sad. Extinction was not due to a natural process, but was brought about by our thoughtlessness or uncaring behavior, and could have been prevented. It was later discovered that there were some "possible" descendants of this lion in zoos or circuses, but I believe that to this day the ancestry has not been proven or is mixed. The former range of this lion subspecies was Africa from Morocco to Egypt, and it may have been the heaviest of the lion species, although some experts believe the weights found in literature were exaggerated.
Poignantly, a few living species such as the gorilla and giant panda are also included on this carousel, and we can only hope they don't disappear under our stewardship.
Meiolania horned turtles survived in New Caledonia until about 2,000 years ago.
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