Our mission is to tackle the complicated issues around lion conservation through advocacy for direct international funding for African wildlife reserves and development of innovative strategies to protect both lions and vulnerable human communities in an ever-evolving landscape.

Dr. Craig Packer, Founder

Considered the world’s foremost expert on African lions, Dr. Craig Packer is a Distinguished McKnight Professor of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota. He established the world’s first research center dedicated to the study of lions in 1986. Working with a team of PhD students and dividing his time between Minnesota and Africa, Dr. Packer’s studies of lion behavior have shaped much of what is known about these animals. continue

The Team

Sarah Huebner

GRADUATE RESEARCHER

Sarah studies the role of megaherbivores, particularly elephants, in mitigating the ‘landscape of fear’ created by African lions. continue

John Heydinger

GRADUATE RESEARCHER AND NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY EXPLORER

John studies the unique desert-adapted lions of northwest Namibia and works with local communities to prevent human-lion conflict. continue

Abby Guthmann

GRADUATE RESEARCHER

Abby studies how rotational grazing is being used to restore degraded grassland and increase pasture productivity in Kenya’s Enonkishu Conservancy. continue

Dr. Natalia Borrego

POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHER

Natalia’s work focuses on the evolutionary links between social, ecological, and cognitive complexity in lions. continue

Jessica Burkhart

GRADUATE RESEARCHER

Jessica is examining the possible link between oxytocin and social behavior in lions to see if this can be used to help bonding during lion re-location. continue

Dr. Meredith Palmer

POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHER

Meredith studies how predators change prey behavior in ways that impact species coexistence and ecosystem functioning. continue

Victoria Lafkey

Victoria Lafkey

UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCHER

Demographic trends of lions in closed vs open systems.

Julie Szczygielski

Julie Szczygielski

UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCHER

Woody vegetation trends after restoration of large mammals.

Julia Olson

Julia Olson

UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCHER

Identifying individual giraffes from camera trap images.

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