Cryptid Profile: Marozi
The Marozi (or Spotted Lion) is described as a lion with spots all over its back. It is described as being smaller than a normal full grown lion, but larger than a leopard and it lacks a mane. The hair it does have around its neck measures no more than 5 inches.
Sightings of the Marozi have been a regular occurrence to the African natives, and the first outsider (European) sighting look place around 1904. The first recorded encounter of a spotted lion took place in 1931 by a farmer named Michael Trent in the Aberdare Mountains region. Trent managed to shoot and kill two Marozi in the mountains at an elevation of 10,000ft. The two lions were both covered in spots that are typically only seen on lion cubs. The two specimens brought great interest from the Nairobi Game Department and after the examination of one of the lions, Trent was allowed to keep one of the full skins as well as a skull.
The results of the examination are as follows: the specimen was male and it’s body measured 5ft 10.5in long, tail was 2ft 9in long and the total length was 8ft 8in long. It was estimated to be around 3yrs of age and was covered with distinctive irregular spots over the flanks, shoulders, and thighs. It had solid colored spots on the legs and abdomen. Less spots on hind legs than forelegs.
In 1933 an expedition led by Kenneth Gandar-Dower took place in the Aberdare Mountains to track and capture a live Marozi specimen. While a live lion was not captured, evidence of its existence was found. Lion tracks were found at the same elevation as the two specimens killed by Trent in 1931. Dower also learned that sightings of the Marozi had occurred in many other regions of Africa as well, these included Uganda, Rwanda, and Ethiopia. Later during the same year, a game warden in the region spotted four spotted lions in the same mountains at an elevation of 10,000ft. Another two lions were spotted at an elevation of 11,500ft and were shot at but managed to run off unharmed.
Explanations on what the Marozi are include a lion/leopard hybrid, a genetic mutation, a rogue sub-adult lion that has been kicked out of its pride, or a yet undiscovered new species of lion (cryptozoologist Dr Bernard Heuvelmans proposed the specific name Leo maculatus in 1955).
-The Pine Barrens Institute
*Image Credit: Google