Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 19th, 2009
A handout photo provided by the Osservatore Romano shows Pope Benedict XVI petting a stuffed lion in the presidential palace in Yaounde, Cameroon, on March 18, the second day of a six-day visit to Africa — his first as pontiff.
The mounted lion looks intriguingly like one of the Man-Eaters of Tsavo (below). The Cameroon’s lion mane seems a bit thin.
Hard as it may be to believe, but lions are almost extinct in Cameroon, with only about 200 in one reserve there.
This poster shows the wide variation in manes in Kenya. The equatorial region of East Africa (Kenya) has long maintained a native lion population exhibiting the greatest range of mane variation known on the planet. While plenty of poorly, modestly and fully maned lions still occur in the eastern, southern and northern regions of that country, lions with truly exceptional manes from the mountain plateaus have fallen victim in recent years to persistent eradication efforts by animal control units. Credit: Color plate by Velizar Simeonovski
The Pope seems to have some affection for lions. Here he is on Sunday, January 25, 2009.
Pope Benedict XVI was greeted by an unusual guest during his weekly audience at the Vatican – a feisty lion cub. The beast was brought to the pontiff as part of a performance by members of the Medrano Circus.
Well, I guess Rome and lions do go together.
Ah, some of the wealth of Rome would be great in cryptozoology!