The Lions of Tsavo: Exploring the Legacy of Africa's Notorious Man-eaters

CHICAGOThe very day that the first team of volunteer conservationists joined Dr. Patterson in Kenya to study the notorious Tsavo lions, a lion was heard roaring at the foot of their camp.

Nevertheless, the volunteers persevered, and others followed. Good thing. Such volunteers are the eyes and ears of Dr. Patterson's research, the first thorough scientific project aimed at understanding the ecology and behavior of these rare, maneless lions.

The volunteers are part of Earthwatch, which coordinates volunteers from around the world to assist in scientific fieldwork. Their efforts in Tsavo National Park is the subject of the introduction to The Lions of Tsavo (McGraw-Hill, January 2004) by Bruce Patterson, PhD, MacArthur Curator of Mammals at Chicago's Field Museum.

Part adventure story, part natural history survey, the new book entertains and informs. Telling the fascinating story of Tsavo's legendary lions, it is the definitive, most complete and most up-to-date book on the best-known lions of all time.

"The Lions of Tsavo represents an outstandingly successful example of cross disciplinary research," said Chapurukha M. Kusimba, Associate Curator of African Archaeology and Ethnology at The Field Museum, in his introduction to the book. "Because lions in Kenya live in close proximity with people, our awareness of interspecies conflict is more than ever a matter of public concern and a priority among international conservation agencies."

Two Tsavo lions are famous for having killed and eaten as many as 135 railway workers in 1898-1899, halting the construction of a railroad across British East Africa between Lake Victoria and the Indian Ocean. Their story was made famous by the major motion picture "The Ghost and The Darkness" (Paramount Pictures, 1996), and those two man-eaters are on display at The Field Museum.

But Tsavo lions continue to eat people today, largely due to human encroachment on their traditional territo

Contact: Greg Borzo
Field Museum

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