Lions in the Balance

Lions in the Balance

Man-eaters, Manes, and Men With Guns

Book - 2015
Average Rating:
Rate this:
If you are a morani ( warrior ), you have your spear at the ready--you could be the hero, but you will have to wait until the morning light before you can go out and prove yourself. If it is a lion, you want to be the first to spear it--and if the lion turns on you, make sure it mauls you on your chest or stomach, on your face, shins, or throat. Any place where you can show your scars with pride, show the incontrovertible evidence of courage. A scar on your back would be a permanent reminder of cowardice, an ineradicable trace of shame.

Monsters take many forms: from man-eating lions to the people who hunt them, from armed robbers to that midnight knock at the door of a cheap hotel room in Dar es Salaam. And celebrated biologist Craig Packer has faced them all. Head on.

With Lions in the Balance , Packer takes us back into the complex, tooth-and-claw world of the African lion, offering revealing insights into both the lives of one of the most iconic and dangerous animals on earth and the very real risks of protecting them. A sequel to his prize-winning Into Africa --which gave many readers their first experience of fieldwork in Africa, of cooperative lions on dusty savannas, and political kidnappings on the shores of Lake Tanganyika--this new diary-based chronicle of cutting-edge research and heartbreaking corruption will both alarm and entertain. Packer's story offers a look into the future of the lion, one in which the politics of conservation will require survival strategies far more creative and powerful than those practiced anywhere in the world today.

Packer is sure to infuriate millionaires, politicians, aid agencies, and conservationists alike as he minces no words about the problems he encounters. But with a narrative stretching from far flung parts of Africa to the corridors of power in Washington, DC, and marked by Packer's signature humor and incredible candor, Lions in the Balance is a tale of courage against impossible odds, a masterly blend of science, adventure, and storytelling, and an urgent call to action that will captivate a new generation of readers.
Publisher: Chicago :, The University of Chicago Press,, 2015.
ISBN: 9780226092959
Branch Call Number: 599. 757 PAC
Characteristics: 346 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Oct 29, 2017

Craig Packer is a well-known wildlife biologist, primarily focusing on African lions in Tanzania. African lions are now in trouble in Africa. Although this book contains several scientific observations about lions, it is primarily focused on the corruption (sometimes accompanied by violence) that prevents Tanzania from doing a proper job of conserving its lions. Packer is in favor of trophy hunting, claiming that if trophy hunters limited themselves to shooting adult males 6 yrs old and over, the lion population would still increase while allowing Tanzania to collect valuable hunting fees. But even he seems to recognize that his position depends upon the honesty of the trophy hunting industry in enforcing and reporting compliance. Such honesty appears to be limited to just a few trophy hunting companies. Furthermore, corruption in the Tanzanian government--at least as of the time this book was written (2015)--appears to be widespread up to the highest levels. Such corruption is, of course, not limited to Tanzania, or even to Africa. Wildlife biologists in many developing countries are often far more discouraged than they may let on publicly because government corruption prevents meaningful conservation efforts.

Nov 25, 2015

This is an account of the authors' attempts (and the attempts of others) to study and conserve lions in Tanzania.

it is a fascinating insight into his long conservation career and the challenges faced by wildlife in Tanzania particularly and Africa / the world more generally.

Sadly the outlook is pretty dim. The tales of greed and corruption are thoroughly depressing.

The writing is excellent and the author is candid with a wry sense of humour. A really, really good book if this sort of area interests you. Just not necessarily happy reading.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at CPL

To Top