Michael Schwartz

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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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…

Changing Planet, Wildlife

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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…

Changing Planet, Wildlife

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