Lions in the Balance

Lions in the Balance

Man-eaters, Manes, and Men With Guns

Book - 2015
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From flat-topped acacia trees to great migrations of wildebeest across an edgeless expanse of grass, the Serengeti is one of the world's most renowned ecosystems. And at the apex of this incredible landscape prowls its seemingly indomitable ruler: the Serengeti lion. These majestic mammals are skillful hunters, iconic, and integral to Serengeti health. But they also commit infanticide; eat local people and destroy local livelihoods; are a source of profit for those who make money shooting or conserving them (and sometimes both); and are in constant danger from the encroachments of another species: humans. With Lions in the Balance, celebrated lion researcher and conservationist Craig Packer takes us back into the complex, tooth-and-claw worlds of lion conservation and behavior. A sequel to Packer's Into Africa--which gave many readers their first experience of field work in Africa, of Tanzanian roads, of long hours spent identifying lions by their ear marks and scars, and of the joys of bootlegged Grateful Dead tapes beneath savannah moons--this diary-based chronicle of adventure, real-life danger, and corruption will both alarm and entertain. Packer's story offers a look into the future of the lion, one in which the politics of conservation will require survival strategies far more creative and powerful than any now possessed by the citizens of the savannah--humans included. Packer is sure to infuriate poachers, politicians, and conservationists alike as he minces no words about the problems he sees. But with a narrative stretching from Arusha to Washington, DC, and marked by Packer's signature humor and incredible candor, Lions in the Balance is a tale of courage against impossible odds, a masterly blend of science and storytelling, and an urgent call to action that will captivate a pride of readers.
Published: Chicago :, The University of Chicago Press,, 2015.
ISBN: 9780226092959
Branch Call Number: 599.757 PAC
Characteristics: 346 pages :,illustrations ;,24 cm


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Oct 29, 2017

Craig Packer is a well-known wildlife biologist, primarily focusing on African lions in Tanzania. African lions are now in trouble in Africa. Although this book contains several scientific observations about lions, it is primarily focused on the corruption (sometimes accompanied by violence) that prevents Tanzania from doing a proper job of conserving its lions. Packer is in favor of trophy hunting, claiming that if trophy hunters limited themselves to shooting adult males 6 yrs old and over, the lion population would still increase while allowing Tanzania to collect valuable hunting fees. But even he seems to recognize that his position depends upon the honesty of the trophy hunting industry in enforcing and reporting compliance. Such honesty appears to be limited to just a few trophy hunting companies. Furthermore, corruption in the Tanzanian government--at least as of the time this book was written (2015)--appears to be widespread up to the highest levels. Such corruption is, of course, not limited to Tanzania, or even to Africa. Wildlife biologists in many developing countries are often far more discouraged than they may let on publicly because government corruption prevents meaningful conservation efforts.

Nov 25, 2015

This is an account of the authors' attempts (and the attempts of others) to study and conserve lions in Tanzania.

it is a fascinating insight into his long conservation career and the challenges faced by wildlife in Tanzania particularly and Africa / the world more generally.

Sadly the outlook is pretty dim. The tales of greed and corruption are thoroughly depressing.

The writing is excellent and the author is candid with a wry sense of humour. A really, really good book if this sort of area interests you. Just not necessarily happy reading.


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