Can a Story Save the African Lion?


Photo by Katy Daily.

Dr. Andrew Stein, National Geographic Explorer and founder and director of CLAWS (Communities Living Among Wildlife Sustainably), will speak Monday, February 5, at the Center for the Environment building on the Catawba College campus.

His presentation, “Can a Story Save the African Lion?” will discuss his team’s successes and challenges in turning around the slaughter of lions and livestock in Northern Botswana.

Stein is an assistant professor of natural science at Landmark College and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has over a decade of experience studying human-carnivore conflict—from African wild dogs and lions in Kenya and Botswana to leopards and hyenas in Namibia.

Stein grew up fascinated by nature documentaries of exotic wildlife in far off destinations. A native of central Massachusetts, he thought the opportunities to explore and contribute to wildlife conservation seemed unlikely until he studied in Kenya through the School for Field Studies. There he saw a confluence of his greater interests in culture, wildlife conservation and problem solving.  

Motivated by a clear vision of purpose, he was driven to return to Africa to make a contribution to the wildlife he was passionate about and the people that faced the challenges of living with their livestock among Africa's great predators. Since his 2001 leopard study in South Africa, Stein has become a leader in leopard conservation as he pursued his doctoral field study on Namibian farmlands and leopard feeding ecology in Botswana. In recent years he has been chosen to assist in national leopard surveys and lead an international team for the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List to assess the global status of the leopard. He has expanded his interests to explore non-lethal approaches to mitigate livestock conflict with lions in Northern Botswana and wolves on Montana ranchland.

Stein has published a dozen scientific articles, organized field training courses with the Smithsonian Institution and been featured in wildlife documentaries on National Geographic Wild and BBC Wildlife. He is also a member of both the IUCN Cat Specialist Group and Hyena Specialist Group.

His presentation, scheduled for 7 p.m. in Room 300 of the Center for the Environment building, is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. 


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