Animal: What Makes Us Human

The Other Safari

University of Minnesota ecologist Craig Packer began his fieldwork on lions in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park more than 30 years ago. At first, he focused on how the animals’ unique social structure and cooperative habits contributed to their survival. As the years have passed, however, Packer has also become a passionate activist, out of necessity, as some lions have become man-eaters while others habitually kill livestock. The resulting conflicts with local human populations have put the continent’s lions in acute danger, demanding novel and creative solutions. Packer discusses his work and devotion to lions’ survival in the context of his life’s “long journey”—the original meaning of the Swahili word safari.

This program is presented in partnership with the University of Minnesota Institute for Advanced Study.

Images by Alissa Zhu

Speakers and Performers

Craig Packer

Craig Packer has worked in Tanzania for 41 years, first studying primates with Jane Goodall at Gombe National Park then heading the long-term lion projects in Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater since 1978. The author of three books, his research has been featured in over two dozen television documentaries and numerous magazines. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Distinguished McKnight University Professor at the University of Minnesota.

CHF Suggests      Related links and resources for further study

Leaders And Thinkers

Craig Packer
Biography at the Lion Research Center

Good Reads

The Truth About Lions
Smithsonian magazine profiles Craig Packer and his work
The Short Happy Life of a Serengeti Lion
A National Geographic stroy about C-Boy, a young lion of the Jua Kali pride

Online Resources

Elsa's Legacy: The Born Free Story
A PBS Nature episode on lions in Africa [video]