Brent Stapelkamp’s response to our Facebook post, “Ask an Expert.”
Brent Stapelkamp’s response to our Facebook post, “Ask an Expert.”

He replied to the questions on the page.

Brent Stapelkamp:

Hi everyone, sorry for the delay but I am on some well deserved time off after several weeks of mayhem and didn’t see this post till now. I am aver whelmed by all the questions and can’t possibly answer each independently but thanks to you all for your asking.
In order to cover as many as I can perhaps a little essay!

Hwange is Zimbabwe’s largest park and is part of the worlds latest transfer-frontier conservation area. The lions and every other animal here are wild and free ranging and so we study them wild and with as little bias and interference as possible. Jericho is just a kilometre or so from Cecil’s cubs and the three lionesses today and is with cathy. The two prides won’t mix but for the first time since Cecil died Jericho may be with that pride soon. I will keep you informed. I am a Zimbabwean and my absolute passion and commitment is to lions. Having said that I am here on the ground where I see all of the complexities that conservation in Africa faces and therein lies the seemingly contradictory statement you heard me say about opposing an outright hunting ban. Let me again say for clarity that I want lion hunting to stop altogether! Immediately if possible because of the effect it has on prides and the impact it has on human lion conflict. They are too precious, sensitive and rare to hunt.

But hunting, and I am no hunter, currently maintains vast areas of Africa for wildlife. Africas human population will double in the next 50years and where will those people get what they need to survive? If these tracts of land don’t offer an incentive to stay as wildlife habitat they will be converted to farming. To help, of course donate if you can but for me the most robust and sustainable effort is to give lions (as flagships, keystone and umbrella species) an alternative value than as trophies on walls. Fill Africa’s safari lodges, come appreciate live lions in the wild, invest in Africa, appreciate and teach your children about the value of lions to our collective human cultures. We need novel ways to help those living with lions to “live with lions”.

Lions should be a “world heritage species”. That is how we can use lions to sve Africa’s wildlife.
And lastly, Proffessor Macdonald said that Cecil’s last movements were not abnormal and he was right. Without a hunting quota this year, Cecil’s monts outside the park didn’t ring any alarm bells until be collar stopped. The collar was never found. I have no answers about Dr Palmer, that is for your courts to decide.

We will continue to monitor all the lions in hwange and I will continue to devote my life to them. Thanks again to you all. Brent

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