Lions have captured the human imagination since the dawn of mankind. Celebrated on banners, flags and crests throughout the world, this dangerous animal has fed us and eaten us ever since we first walked on two legs.
The only social cat, lions live in one of the most complex societies of any animal species, and the lion’s mane is one of the few examples of a conspicuous decoration in male mammals. Lions can be highly cooperative, and they can be utterly selfish, but above all, they must have companions to withstand the constant gang warfare of Africa’s savannas.
But lions are increasingly endangered and the challenges of conservation are profound: man-eaters have killed more than one thousand people in the past two decades and far more livestock have been lost. Sport hunting is big business in Africa, and reform is hampered by corruption and indifference. As the human population continues to grow, lions and people are crowded ever closer together, and all these problems will only get worse.
In this seminar, Dr. Craig Packer, Director of the University of Minnesota’s Lion Research Center, will highlight key findings from his decades of research and propose a radical new approach to conserving the last great wildlife refuges in Africa.
LearningLife seminars embrace Socrates's belief in the power of inquiry and exchange. Seminars begin with a one-hour presentation by the instructor, which is followed by an hour of engaged, critical discussion.
Recommended: Lions in the Balance: Man-Eaters, Manes, and Men with Guns (University of Chicago Press, 2015).
Craig Packer, PhD, University of Sussex, is a Professor in the University of Minnesota’s College of Biological Sciences and Director of the Lion Research Center. During his 35-year tenure as director of the Serengeti lion project, he has advised the Indian government on how to secure the future of lions in Asia, descended into the limestone caves of the Ardeche Valley to interpret the lions portrayed in the oldest art in the world, and worked with international agencies to end the worst abuses of sport hunting in many African countries. Packer received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1990, became a Distinguished McKnight University Professor in 1997, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003. His work has been featured in National Geographic, Smithsonian, the New York Times, and The New Yorker, and he is the author of Into Africa (University of Chicago Press, 1994), which received the 1995 John Burroughs medal, and Lions in the Balance: Man-Eaters, Manes, and Men with Guns.
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