“We Kill Lions All The Time”: Inside the Anti-Predator Mindset

“Traditional cultural hostility by local communities toward lions is the root of human-lion conflict in tribal areas.” ~Andrew Wyatt

strange behaviors

 Two-African-lions

Whether they are trying to stop the killing of wolves in Idaho or lions in Tanzania, conservation biologists often come to a horrible moment when they realize that all their training has missed the mark. “I often think that I have three degrees in wildlife biology, and none of them is relevant to what I do on a daily basis,” says Amy J. Dickman, a senior research fellow at Oxford University. What she needs, more often than not, isn’t ecology. It’s psychology.

That thought occurred especially during two years she spent camped under a tree with two Tanzanian assistants, trying to make contact with a community of pastoral grazers, members of the Barabaig tribe. She was working on strategies to protect predators on the outskirts of Ruaha National Park. It’s Tanzania’s largest national park, as big as the state of New Jersey. It’s home to 10 percent of…

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