Can Lions Coexist With Cattle in Africa?


Protecting lions and the interests of cattle producers in Kenya is a difficult balancing act. 

Protecting lions and the interests of cattle producers in Kenya is a difficult balancing act. In a recent Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution article, Dr Laurence G Frank, a researcher at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Mpala Research Centre in Laikipia, Kenya, explored how protecting livestock can help protect endangered lions. As part of our Frontiers Scientist series, Frank, who also is the director of Living With Lions, a conservation research group working in nonprotected areas of Kenya to save the remaining wild lions and other predators outside National Parks, caught up with Frontiers to tell us about his career and research.

What Inspired You to Become a Researcher?

All children love animals and some who never grow up become zoologists. At the age of 10 I was introduced to field biology at a local community museum, where we were taught basic ecology and animal behavior, collecting and specimen preparation technique, and formal field note format. My weekends were spent pestering local reptiles and trapping small mammals in the Bay Area hills; many of my juvenile specimens are in the California Academy of Sciences research collection. A field course on east African mammals at the age of 18 hooked me on Africa and I returned to Kenya a few years later to study pesticides in raptors. After an MSc in ecology at the University of Aberdeen, I did my PhD at Berkeley, studying the social behavior of spotted hyenas in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve. With Prof Stephen Glickman, I helped create the Berkeley Hyena Project – a large research colony in the hills overlooking San Francisco Bay – to study the unique biology of female masculinization in this species.

Read more at Frontiers

Photo Credit: anramb via Pixabay