Michael Schwartz

Are Africa’s Forgotten Lions Doomed to Slip Into Extinction, Unnoticed?

A West African Lion. Above photo by Philipp Henschel/Panthera. What is the glue that forever binds lions to East and Southern Africa? Was it the pioneering Serengeti research done by Bernhard Grzimek? The high volume of lion films, featuring terrestrial backdrops like the Okavango Delta? Or is it simply that iconic picture of panthera leo, resting…

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The Big Conservation Lie: Overview and Interview With the Authors

Conservation is rightfully celebrated for its contribution to preserving iconic wildlife in their natural habitats. Yet there are those who question some of its ethics, wondering where people fit into the bigger picture.  With a no-holds-barred analysis (some might say assault on) the widely held African conservation paradigm, The Big Conservation Lie is a contentious, indeed largely…

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The Lion and the Cow: Conservation, Pastoralism, and Conflict

The lioness and the Karamojong cow are competing residents of Uganda’s Kidepo Valley National Park. Above photo by Michael Schwartz. The recurring thought of lions and cows keeps interrupting my focus on a humid evening as I sit down to dinner outside a small hotel overlooking the din of downtown Kampala. I’m engaged in conversation with a gentleman of the…

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Saving Ugandan Lions One Radio Collar at a Time

Dr. Ludwig Siefert of the Uganda Carnivore Program successfully collars a juvenile male from Lena’s pride in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Above photo by Michael Schwartz. “Carnivore populations are rapidly declining. We are working hard to save them.” — Uganda Carnivore Program It’s about a day’s journey by road from Kampala to Queen Elizabeth National Park, a…

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How Uganda’s Rural Communities Can Help Fight Wildlife Crime

Between its largest protected area, Murchison Falls National Park, and its most visited wildlife haven, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda ranks as one the most biologically diverse countries on the African continent.  But despite being a paragon of conservation success, the Pearl of Africa’s highly volatile parks remain susceptible to wildlife poaching, particularly in places where animals and rural…

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World Lion Day: What Would You Do to Protect Lions?

After cordially being invited to “pen a post” for National Geographic’s Cat Watch in honor of World Lion Day (#worldlionday), I was elated; not only because I was asked, but, and in spite of this being quite the cliché, I simply love lions! Given the number of conservation issues surrounding the animal kingdom’s noblest of big cats, the first…

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Real-life “Tarzan” Lee White is on a Mission to Protect Gabon’s Forest Elephants

Moviegoers are headed for the Congo rainforest when the Warner Bros. film, The Legend of Tarzan, hits the big screen this July.  Most people are familiar with author Edgar Rice Burrough’s character—the orphan boy raised by apes who grew up to become lord of the jungle. However, few may know that much of the upcoming adventure film was shot on location in Gabon, a French-speaking…

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Will Keeping the Rhino Horn Trade Illegal Kill More Rhinos?

Many conservationists are lauding South Africa’s recent decision not to propose the reintroduction of trade in rhino horn, citing concerns that legitimizing it could reignite consumer demand. Other conservationists, however, fear that keeping the ban in place will paradoxically lead to an increase in the killing of rhinos throughout Africa. Pro-Trade Rationale South Africa’s private rhino owners host roughly 33% of the country’s black…

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Poachers Aren’t All Evil: An Unconventional Conservation Film

Not all poachers are evil, nor are they as indifferent toward the environment as many activists make them out to be. That sentiment might elicit negative reactions from many an online conservation dilettante. Fortunately, in spite of a world gone mad with an intolerance that’s reached astronomical levels, there are some working to change the way…

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The Biggest Obstacles for Africa’s Big Cats

A juvenile lion. Above photo by Michael Schwartz. Almost every obstacle surrounding big cat conservation in Africa is symptomatic of human population growth and the conversion of rangeland to reduce poverty. On a slightly contrarian note, Africa’s surge of human inhabitants is actually good news—at least insofar as the state of the human condition is concerned. At…

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Culling to Conserve: A Hard Truth for Lion Conservation

People that don’t live in Africa tend to learn about wildlife conservation in easy-to-understand terminology. But safeguarding animal species like lions is often more complex than mainstream media sound bites would have their audiences believe. The National Post recently reported that management from Zimbabwe’s Bubye Valley Conservancy was considering a controversial move to cull upwards…

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Finding Ways to Keep People and Elephants at Peace

INTERVIEW WITH THE UGANDA WILDLIFE AUTHORITY. INTERVIEW, VIDEO FOOTAGE, AND EDITING BY MICHAEL SCHWARTZ. AUDIO AND FIELD ASSISTANCE COURTESY OF MOSES KONDE AND MOSES AGABA OF NATURE ADVENTURE AFRICA SAFARIS. A gazetted national park doesn’t always stop wildlife from crossing into human territory. This is especially true of African elephant herds that follow historic migration…

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Link Between Ivory Price Drop and China’s Trade Ban Questioned

By Michael Schwartz The conservation organization Save the Elephant’s recent claim of a strong association between the sharp decline in raw ivory prices and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s September pledge to close China’s domestic ivory markets may be inaccurate, says Daniel Stiles, a conservationist and veteran ivory researcher based in Kenya. According to Stiles, Save…

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How to Offset Terrorism’s Damage to Funding for Pachyderms

By Michael Schwartz On the whole, tourism revenue is an optimal way of conserving Africa’s remaining elephant and rhino populations. But the current spike in global terrorist activities should serve as a sobering reminder that it can’t be relied on as a conservation panacea. The recent uptick in global terrorism, in all likelihood, will deter…

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About the Blog

Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

Opinions are those of the blogger and/or the blogger’s organization, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Posters of blogs and comments are required to observe National Geographic’s community rules and other terms of service.

Voices director: David Braun (dbraun@ngs.org)

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