Illuminating the lives of lions

Craig Packer has been at the forefront of lion research for more than four decades. His team has advanced knowledge on all aspects of this iconic creature and the role it plays in its environment. The Lion Center at the University of Minnesota is world-renowned for research rooted in collaborations with experts from dozens of fields ranging from virology to ecosystem ecology.

Why do lions have manes? Why are they the only social cat? How do they cope with changing environments? Are small populations vulnerable to close inbreeding? Are they sensitive to outbreaks of infectious diseases?  Are they truly “keystone” species in Africa’s remaining savannas? We have addressed all these questions and more over the past 40 years, and we are still learning more about the lion’s basic biology.  Our research has helped guide government policy in numerous African countries, and our findings are helping conservation authorities to refine their management practices.  Whether it’s the lion’s physical appearance or the interior workings of the lion’s brain, we are looking at the lion from every angle.

Learn more

Lion Center researchers have been studying lions for decades and generated numerous insights in the process. Here are just a few areas you can explore in greater depth.

Want to dig in to the science? Check out research publications by Lion Center researchers.

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