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Michael Schwartz

www.michaelwschwartz.com

Michael Schwartz is a journalist and African wildlife conservation researcher. With field experience across the continent since 2005, his passion for Africa’s wildlife is matched by his compassion for the people who live there. A significant portion of his field work is carried out in Uganda, where he studies lion conservation.

You can visit his website at http://www.michaelwschwartz.com.

Are Africa’s Forgotten Lions Doomed to Slip Into Extinction, Unnoticed?

What is the glue that forever binds lions to East and Southern Africa? Was it the pioneering Serengeti research done by Bernhard Grzimek? The high volume of lion films, featuring terrestrial backdrops like the Okavango Delta? Or is it simply that iconic picture of panthera leo, resting on a granite kopje or under an umbrella tree,…

The Big Conservation Lie: Overview and Interview With the Authors

  Conservation is rightfully celebrated for its contribution to preserving iconic wildlife in their natural habitats. Yet there are those who question some of its ethics, wondering where people fit into the bigger picture.  With a no-holds-barred analysis (some might say assault on) the widely held African conservation paradigm, The Big Conservation Lie is a contentious, indeed…

The Lion and the Cow: Conservation, Pastoralism, and Conflict

The recurring thought of lions and cows keeps interrupting my focus on a humid evening as I sit down to dinner outside a small hotel overlooking the din of downtown Kampala. I’m conversing with a Dodoth gentleman of the Karamojong tribe from the northeastern region of Uganda—a place with little infrastructure and an abundance of wildlife. Loupa Pius is a project…

Saving Ugandan Lions One Radio Collar at a Time

Tagging along with Dr. Ludwig Siefert, team leader of the Uganda Carnivore Program, in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park, I learn what it takes to manage and care for wild lions in a region undergoing tremendous socio-economic change.

How Uganda’s Rural Communities Can Help Fight Wildlife Crime

Between its largest protected area, Murchison Falls National Park, and its most visited wildlife haven, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda ranks as one the most biologically diverse countries on the African continent.

But despite being a paragon of conservation success, the Pearl of Africa’s highly volatile parks remain susceptible to wildlife poaching, particularly in places where animals and rural communities meet.

How One U.S. Zoo is Supporting African Wildlife Conservation

Despite the sensation of  tough gravel, I never expected a rhinoceros to feel so soft around the back of the ears and mouth.  Staff at the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, New York had graciously allowed me to come face to face with Bill, the resident southern white rhinoceros who, funnily enough, was more interested in being petted than…

World Lion Day: What Would You Do to Protect Lions?

After cordially being invited to “pen a post” for National Geographic’s Cat Watch in honor of World Lion Day #worldlionday, I was elated; not only because I was asked, but, and in spite of this being quite the cliché, I absolutely, unequivocally love lions! Given the number of conservation issues surrounding the animal kingdom’s noblest of big cats, the…

Real-life “Tarzan” Lee White is on a Mission to Protect Gabon’s Forest Elephants

Moviegoers are headed for the Congo rainforest when the Warner Bros. film, The Legend of Tarzan, hits the big screen this July.  Most people are familiar with author Edgar Rice Burrough’s character—the orphan boy raised by apes who grew up to become lord of the jungle. However, few may know that much of the upcoming adventure film was shot on location in Gabon, a French-speaking…

Will Keeping the Rhino Horn Trade Illegal Kill More Rhinos?

Many conservationists are lauding South Africa’s recent decision not to propose the reintroduction of trade in rhino horn, citing concerns that legitimizing it could reignite consumer demand. Other conservationists, however, fear that keeping the ban in place will paradoxically lead to an increase in the killing of rhinos throughout Africa. Pro-Trade Rationale South Africa’s private rhino owners host roughly 33% of the country’s black…

Poachers Aren’t All Evil: An Unconventional Conservation Film

Not all poachers are evil, nor are they as indifferent toward the environment as many activists make them out to be. That sentiment might elicit negative reactions from many an online conservation dilettante. Fortunately, in spite of a world gone mad with an intolerance that’s reached astronomical levels, there are some working to change the way…

The Biggest Obstacles for Africa’s Big Cats

Almost every obstacle surrounding big cat conservation in Africa is symptomatic of human population growth and the conversion of rangeland to reduce poverty. On a slightly contrarian note, Africa’s surge of human inhabitants is actually good news—at least insofar as the state of the human condition is concerned. At long last, significant portions of a continent long beleaguered…

Culling to Conserve: A Hard Truth for Lion Conservation

People that don’t live in Africa tend to learn about wildlife conservation in easy-to-understand terminology. But safeguarding animal species like lions is often more complex than mainstream media sound bites would have their audiences believe. The National Post recently reported that management from Zimbabwe’s Bubye Valley Conservancy was considering a controversial move to cull upwards…

Finding Ways to Keep People and Elephants at Peace

A gazetted national park doesn’t always stop wildlife from crossing into human territory. This is especially true of African elephant herds that follow historic migration routes. In Uganda, elephants will occasionally leave the security of protected areas, even migrating across national boundaries. The frequent result: human-elephant conflict. Unable to protect themselves from wildlife as well…