My Perspective on Cecil the Lion and Misguided Outrage

“An interesting perspective on lion conservation in Africa in the wake of the death of Cecil the lion.” ~ Andrew Wyatt


I have traveled and worked in over a dozen African countries in the zoo and wildlife industry for more than 35 years. Africa has fascinated me for as long as I can remember, and through my travels over the years, the fascination for Africa’s people and its wildlife is in my blood, making me feel as if I’m coming home every time I travel there.

To most Americans, Africa is referred to as a “country” rather than a huge complex continent encompassing every climatic zone, 56 countries, and well over 4,000 individual cultures. Due to this immense diversity, Africa’s wildlife conservation issues vary widely throughout the continent, with wildlife holding its own in some countries while suffering greatly in others.

There is no easy, one size fits all solution that’s works to fix the challenges facing wildlife’s survival. We here in the west tend to have an easy “solution” for…

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SCI Foundation’s HLF Aid Anti-Poaching Efforts in Tanzania

Hunting Group Donates $100,000 to Anti-Poaching Efforts in Tanzania. ~Andrew Wyatt

First For Wildlife

tanz trucks

(Washington, DC) SCI Foundation’s Hunter Legacy Fund (HLF) donated $100,000 to provide the Wildlife Conservation Foundation of Tanzania (WCFT) with vehicles to be used by anti-poaching patrols.

SCI Foundation has outfitted anti-poaching units with two fully equipped Toyota Land Cruisers to monitor the Selous Game Reserve. These new Cruisers will allow teams to locate and track areas most susceptible to poachers.

“I am very sure that the elephants and other wildlife are more secure today and we already see the difference in the bush,” WCFT Trustees and Executive Vice President Eric Pasanisi said. “On behalf of the Wildlife Conservation Foundation of Tanzania, I would like to sincerely thank you for your generous donation to our fight to preserve our wildlife in Tanzania.”

The US Fish and Wildlife Service’s recent decision to ban elephant imports from Tanzania has limited conservation funding considerably; but SCI Foundation’s grant has allowed the WCFT to…

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In Major Setback for Anti-Hunting Efforts; FWS Rejects Attempts to Stop Lion Hunting

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rejects claim that African lion merits listing as an Endangered Species under the ESA ~ Andrew Wyatt

First For Wildlife


For Immediate Release: October 27, 2014

Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) rejected the claim that the African lion merited listing as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.  After a long and comprehensive review of the species status, which included information from the foremost lion researchers in the world, the FWS concluded that the African lion simply is not on the brink of extinction and did not merit listing as an endangered species.

The FWS concluded “[s]port-hunting was not found to be a threat to the species at this time.” This conclusion is a blow to the anti-hunting rhetoric put forward by organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States and International Fund for Animal Welfare. The FWS’s conclusion contradicts the assertions made by these anti-hunting organizations in the petition they filed with FWS to have the lion listed as endangered…

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“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


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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Doing Dumb Things With Black Mambas

“… in black mamba country… a rat in your bed can be reasonably good news.”

strange behaviors

(Photo: Getty Images) (Photo: Getty Images)

Last weekend, I left my rental car parked overnight in a remote location in northern South Africa, where I have been working on a story. When I got back to the car the following afternoon, there was a freshly shed snakeskin on the ground by the rear bumper.  The biologist I was with (OK, he was a mammals guy) examined the head and ventured, “It could be a young black mamba.”

I contemplated that as I drove for the next four hours south to Pretoria. Off and on, I wondered whether the snake had sought shelter, as animals sometimes do, in the engine compartment of the car. In case you’ve somehow never heard of black mambas, they are among the deadliest snakes in the world and can grow to 15 feet in length. They generally use their considerable speed to escape rather than to attack, but they…

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Animal “Protection” Groups Doing Little to Protect African Elephants

“Animal rights groups heavy on anti-hunting rhetoric, but light on integrity and conservation.” ~Andrew Wyatt

First For Hunters

New Report Shows Animal Rights Hypocrites Stiff Elephants, African Communities

Washington, D.C. — Today Safari Club International (SCI) exposed the hypocrisy of five animal rights groups in a new report. The report, “A Stampede of Hypocrisy: How Animal Rights Activists Poach Elephant Donations,” counters the high-profile propaganda campaign against the sustainable and highly regulated hunting of African elephants, which activists use to push their radical political agenda. Despite the trumpeting from these activists that they’re “speaking for” the interests of elephants, the report points to figures showing the millions of dollars contributed by hunters to African communities and anti-poaching efforts dwarfs the paltry expenditures by the animal rights groups in sub-Saharan Africa. View the report here:

Stampede of Hypocrisy

 View the Full Report HERE

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), its affiliate Humane Society International (HSI), the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals…

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Maintaining the Genetic Diversity of Small Populations

“Conservation through captive breeding… Fossil Rim walks the conservation talk!” ~ Andrew Wyatt

Words On Wildlife

When you visit Fossil Rim and see babies (calves, cubs, pups and chicks), your first reaction may be to comment on how cute they are or the large number of offspring that we have. One of Fossil Rim’s main roles is being a breeding center – to produce large numbers of endangered species with the aim of securing an insurance population against extinction and directly or indirectly supporting the in situ (in the wild) populations, whether through reintroductions, research or public education. While Fossil Rim works to provide excellent care for our animals, there is an additional component you may not have considered before – caring for the genetic health of our species.

RS27730_hartmanns 045 Hartmann’s mountain zebra

RS26453_bongo calf 11 Bongo

RS20119_IMG_3104 Wildebeest

RS11803__DO31104 Gemsbok

RS21921_055 White rhino

Most people are aware that inbreeding animals can lead to numerous health problems, but caring for our animals’ genetics goes beyond just avoiding inbreeding. We seek to maintain genetically…

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