Brent Stapelkamp is a wildlife photographer and the researcher who last tracked and collared Cecil the lion. Brent is “obsessed with lions” (his own words!) and has studied them in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe for over nine years for Oxford University’s Wildlife and Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU). Brent’s work is primarily about promoting ways to mitigate the conflict between lions and livestock owners with a healthy dose of wildlife photography to get his “lion fix.” He lives off-grid with his wife, Laurie Simpson and their seven year old son, Oliver, in a home that his wife built with her bare hands. They are part of a rural community and hope to both lead by example and learn from their neighbors. They have far-reaching ambitions to see and be part of a sustainable way of live whereby we are not just slowing down our impact on the planet but improving it.
Brent has lived and worked with lions for nine years now and is completely devoted to them. He believes that because lions have the unique distinction of occupying the three definitions of Key-stone species, Flagship species and Umbrella species, their conservation can be the most efficient means of preserving Africa’s last intact ecosystems and the millions of species within them. Lions are also something of an “old companion” to man as we both came from Africa and eventually occupied most of the world. Lions, in fact, were the second most widespread mammal in history. Our relationship with lions is as old as we are and in every human culture they are celebrated and revered like no other species. Lions are in our art, our poems, our tales, our medals, our stories, our products, our egos, and our dreams….and what better candidate is there to be given the first honour of being called a “World Heritage Species?” Brent is part of a fresh movement to get lions defined as a World Heritage Species so that they are honored and protected, believing that by doing so we can protect their ecosystems and the human culture associated with them.
Twitter – @brentstapelkamp