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OtherIamA UPS Driver, AMA!

Jan 1st 2017 by abscissa081 • 28 Questions • 358 Points

I've been studying lions in Africa for nearly 40 years. My research has been important in reducing the prevalence of lion trophy hunting and raising awareness regarding conservation challenges. I spend my days working to improve the future for African lions in both fenced and unfenced reserves, and starting at 5:00pm Central Time, I'm an open book. Ask me anything!

Edit: We're done for the day. But if you'd like to learn more about lions, the Lion Center or me, you might be interesting in checking out my two books on Amazon: Lions in the Balance

Into Africa

 

Want to help out? We're currently hosting a Crowdfunding Campaign to raise money for additional camera traps in Africa!

 

Proof

Q:

When someone marks "Fragile" on a box, do you guys just take it as a challenge or what?

A:

I've heard that trophy hunters actually fund more conservation of lions with the money it costs them to obtain permission to hunt a single lion, is that true?


Q:

I treat them all the same. I don't get paid extra to handle something that says fragile.

Also people assume the driver is the bad guy for breaking stuff. 99% I'd bet on the warehouse staff causing the problems

A:

This is only true in a few parts of Africa. In most places, the hunting fees are far too low to cover the costs of protecting the hunting blocks from poachers, cattle herders, etc. The hunting blocks are typically rented out to individuals with close contacts inside the range-state governments. So the government "official" gets the money rather than the government agency that pays the rangers' salaries, etc. In short, the high idealism of sport hunting fails because of rampant corruption.


Q:

Warehouse staff here. It was like that when it got to me. Honest.

A:

Hi Craig! I'm going to South Africa in a few weeks for a wedding, can you tell me the best way to see lions? And what's your favorite fun fact about lions? Thanks for the AMA!


Q:

After working preload and whatnot I'm surprised most people's stuff isn't broken lol.

Not hating on you guys, that stuff sucks in there man. Been there, them trucks ain't unloading themselves.

A:

There are a lot of good places to see lions in South Africa. You are almost certain to see them in Kruger National Park. The Sabi Sands Conservancy is another great area. But you can find lions in a number of the smaller parks in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and and Mpumalanga. My favorite fun fact about lions is that they can count.


Q:

Did the show the King of Queens accurately describe your job?

A:

Lions can count? How do they do it/how was this discovered?


Q:

Not really. He was never in a hurry. But to be fair, I've never watched the show besides a few episodes here and there.

A:

We used a loudspeaker to broadcast the recorded roars of either one or three females lions to prides of different sizes. Female lions are highly territorial, so they get aggressive when they think a stranger has entered their domain. When we played the roar of a single female to a lone female, the experimental subject became agitated but didn't approach the speaker. if we played one to a pair females, the duos were more likely to approach, but it was only when we played a singleton's roar to a group of three subjects that the subjects almost invariably approached the speaker, ready to kick out the stranger. So then we played a chorus of 3 roaring females to trios, and the trios were just as inhibited from approaching the speaker as one-against-one; quartets reacted the same to roaring trios as pairs to solitaries -- and quintets were just as eager to approach invading trios as 3 against one. So as long as the subject females out-numbered the invaders by at least two individuals, they would go forward -- and that means that they must have been able to count the number of "us" vs the number of "them!" After we published this study, similar findings were made on chimpanzees and a few other species.


Q:

Do you get lost ever?

A:

Who would win in a fight between a lion and a tuna?


Q:

Nah, it only sucks if I'm running country stuff opposed to neighborhoods or tight business areas and my phone dies. And it's dark. Then you get sad because it'll be a loooooong day

A:

I suppose if the fight were to take place in the deep ocean....


Q:

Ever have sex with a customer on your delivery route?

A:

Where does the majority of your funding come from and what is your daily work routine?


Q:

I never kiss and tell.

no

A:

For the past few years, the majority of my funding has come from National Geographic in the US, with additional funding from the National Research Foundation in South Africa.
During the fall semester each year, I teach at the University of Minnesota. For the rest of the year, I work with researchers and wildlife managers in various parts of Africa, including South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe -- I also advise various projects in Tanzania. This mostly means that i spend a bit of time with lions in the protected areas and the rest of each day working with people who spend all their time in the field.


Q:

Oh I've had better ones than that from these idiot UPS drivers. They once claimed my address didn't exist then sent a post card to said non-existent a address for me to come pick my package up from the depo. I know what the problem is. The driver is lazy and I'm out of the way. I will pay extra for FedEx. They actually do what I pay them to do.

A:

How did you get into this field? What made you want to do it and how did you follow through?


Q:

Hey I'm sorry that has happened to you. I would complain and escalate the problem past the local center. Almost every driver I know is very proud of what they do. It's not the most glamorous, but we know what is expected of us and enjoy our jobs. So having a bad apple just sucks for everyone.

A:

i was extraordinarily lucky to be able to go to Africa as a field assistant to Jane Goodall when i was an undergraduate. Very few people watched animals in the wild in those days, so when I caught the bug for research, it was relatively easy to keep going. In my case, I went to graduate school in the UK so as to return to the primate project with Jane, and when i finished my degree, I was able to take over the Serengeti lion project from a couple of friends. The field is far more crowded today!


Q:

I've heard from Reddit that UPS drivers are actually paid well. How true is this?

A:

How do you feel about the obvious inverse correlation between lions having a good/bad year and the rest of the world having a good/bad year? I drew a graph for clarification. http://iob.imgur.com/uYGg/NXGvi7Iiuz

Edit: Lions broke my upload :(


Q:

Very

A:

Despite the bad stuff in 2015 for lions -- and the bad stuff in 2016 for the rest of us -- a lot of good things may be starting to happen for lions.
First, the US Fisheries and Wildlife Service has been very strict about preventing the import of lion trophies from Africa to the US -- USFWS requirer the African countries to provide solid evidence that sport hunting makes a POSITIVE contribution to lion conservation in their territories, and so far South Africa is the only country to make a convincing case. Thus across all of Africa, only a handful of wild lions were shot for export to the US in 2016, whereas in earlier years hundreds of wild lions were shot and imported to the US every year. In addition, USFWS banned the importation of "canned" lion trophies in 2016. Canned lions are raised on lion "farms" in South Africa and shot at close range. Over 500 of these "trophies" had been imported into the US every year for the past decade. Thus the American market for lion trophies has virtually disappeared. Let's hope that USFWS will be allowed to continue these strict policies into the new Administration in Washington DC. Second, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the world must find a better way to finance African wildlife conservation than has been possible thru sport hunting or ecotourism. The costs are simply too high to be shouldered by Western families on holiday in the Serengeti or sport hunters chasing after lions like Cecil. I attended a meeting in Oxford in September where a number of lion conservationists like myself were able to make the case to the British Govt and to organizations like UNESCO and UNEP that Africa's iconic parks and wildlife will only survive if the entire world helps cover the costs through some sort of global funding program to the National Parks services of Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, etc. We received quite a sympathetic ear, and I think we might be able to move the idea forward to world leaders in the coming years -- though the US Govt may not be the best place to start right now!


Q:

I hear that UPS drivers get discounts from a lot of places they deliver to. Is this true?

A:

What is your opinion on lions (or other animals for that matter) in zoos? Do you wish they had more freedom or do you feel that the lions are cared for in zoos?


Q:

It's encouraged you be super friendly and build relationships with the customers. I usually get free stuff wherever I go. Wendy's, 7/11, but there are no official perks

A:

By one important measure - breeding - lions fare very well in zoos. Most zoo lions have been sterilized or fitted with contraceptives to prevent a baby boom. Otherwise, zoo lions don't really have enough to do, and they often get obese because of a lack of exercise. If their enclosure were bigger and they were allowed to catch dinner -- and also to fail most of the time -- their lives would be much better.


Q:

How is the competition between you and FedEx or other companies? Do you feel satisfied at your job or ever consider switching sides?

A:

How do you feel about the Cecil shooting? All permits were in place for the shooter. What's your take on what happened?


Q:

I haven't had any bad experiences with FedEx employees. We usually wave to each other. I see it just like anywhere else. McDonalds employees don't hate Wendys. I love my job, and I wouldn't switch. UPS has a lot stricter policy on how we act and what we do, I think it's for better.

A:

Cecil was shot illegally. The Zimbabwean guide only had permission to shoot a lion in an area in a different part of the country -- and he brought his client to a site where lions from Hwange National Park are often found. But even if Cecil had been shot legally, the client only spent $50,000 -- when the true conservation costs of shooting a fully adult lion is well over $1,000,000 -- lion conservation is expensive and sport hunting in most countries raises pennies on the dollar of the true costs of wildlife management.


Q:

Would you rather deliver one horse-sized package or 100 packages the size of a duck?

A:

Thank your for your clear and erudite answer.

Now, for a follow up? Who was to blame? I think the dentist did his due diligence. Also? I heard the lion in question was lured from the park and shot on ground that was, in fact, legal.

I understand that it's murky. I want and respect your opinion. You know more than I do.


Q:

one horse sized package for sure

A:

Hunting was permitted at the site where Cecil was shot, but the local hunting operator's permit was restricted to a different part of the country -- so the outfitter pulled a fast one, and it left the dentist looking like the bad guy. It is extremely common for hunting operators to set out baits at the borders of the national parks so as to lure the lions into the hunting concessions.


Q:

I would try knocking on the door myself throughout the day, still made a noise, also tried ringing the doorbell many times, maybe i broke it, then it fixed itself when i tried it again later :)

A:

What is perhaps the biggest threat facing wild lions today? Also, if every trophy hunt were 100% legal and the funds always went towards lion conservation with no corruption present, would trophy hunting (with the fees as they are today) help conservation efforts more than it harmed the lion population?


Q:

Well, since you think we're out to make your life hard, have it delivered to a UPS store or your work.

Do you live in an apartment?

A:

The biggest threat, ultimately, is rapid human population growth across Africa == by 2050 population density in much of Africa will be similar to India today. Lions need vast tracts of land -- and open areas outside the parks are disappearing fast while the parks themselves tend to be underfunded.
Sport hunting could only make a difference if it raised about twenty-times as much money per square mile. Lion conservation costs about $2,000 per square kilometer, and lion hunting seldom generates even a third as much -- and in many places, hunting only generates $20-100 per sq km.
This could either be achieved by greatly increasing the fees per client or making it much more difficult to actually shoot a lion -- most lions are shot at baits and outfitters practically guarantee one lion per client. If only 1 in 20 were successful, a lot more revenue would be generated. So big changes would be necessary.


Q:

it was a house at the time, it happened a bunch when i was working from home, now i get everything shipped to the office, so packages show up after hours:)

I don't think you are out to make my life hard, i think that a lot of drivers like to make their life easier, by not waiting for some wanker to answer the door, i don't know man, i waited for packages that never came, and when i look out the door i see that damn notice.

A:

Wow. "by 2050 population density in much of Africa will be similar to India today" seems insane. How did this get projected out? Was it sheer population growth historically that was projected out or is there some multiplier tied to things like increased industrialization? Thanks!


Q:

I would say out of 200 packages for houses, only 1 require a signature on average. So I don't know what the problem is. Everything else is driver released, meaning I leave it on your porch.

But sometimes I wait until you get up to pee.

A:

Africa is the last continent on earth with rapid population growth. In the rest of the world, economic development, health care and education for girls have led to what's called the "demographic transition" where the preferred family size is 2 kids per family. But none of this has happened yet in Africa, so the preferred family size is still 5-8 kids. The UN's latest population predictions suggest that most of the global population growth for the rest of this century will be in Africa. And that means a four-fold increase.


Q:

What are your thoughts on oatmeal cookies?

A:

What is the craziest thing you have seen throughout your 40 years in Africa? (Wildlife related).


Q:

Chocolate chip or bust

A:

We did a research project about 15 yrs ago that tested why lions have manes, so we obtained a set of life-sized toy lions with removable manes and set them out two at a time to see if females preferred long manes over short manes or dark manes over light manes. We didn't really know if it would work until we tried it the first time -- and we gave a set of 3 females a choice between black and blond. Amazingly, they responded as if the dummies were actual male lions - and approached them with considerable interest (and a certain amount of flirtiness). That first group of females clearly preferred the dark maned dummy and even tried tugging on its tail to get it to respond. Our later tests all showed the same thing, and we eventually learned that real live males with dark manes are superior competitors to their blond rivals. But that first test made my students and me all laugh and hop up and down with such excitement that it was one of the true highlights of my scientific career.


Q:

Have you ever accidentally run over an animal while on the job? If so, how did you feel or react?

A:

Makes sense, just wish they could've done something else I guess. Thanks for taking time to answer.


Q:

I haven't, luckily. Hitting a pet is a punishable offense. I would feel destroyed mentally. I love my doggos

A:

It's always a tough situation when it comes to exotic animals -- lions are just too dangerous!


Q:

For the packages that require a signature or someone to answer the door, what's the approximate ratio of successful deliveries to unsuccessful (i.e. leaving a note that says "we missed you")?

A:

What country/regions are they faring the best? Which areas are they doing the most poorly? Are there any diseases that you are really worried about? I've seen some with terrible flies on them, is that condition normal? Are their numbers down greatly and if so are their prey populations growing? Are other apex predators taking their place? What's the overall effect of reduced lion populations on their ecosystems?


Q:

Typically people are at work, so I'd say like 25% of the time it gets delivered.

A:

Lion numbers are declining throughout most of West, Central and East Africa, largely owing to loss of habitat, loss of prey and human-lion conflicts. Lions eat people and their livestock. People retaliate with spears, guns and poison. The only areas where lions are thriving are in southern Africa -- either where all the reserves are fenced (like in South Africa) or where the reserves are located in deserts with no surrounding populations of people (like in Botswana and Namibia). Where lions are declining, leopards tend to fare better -- lions ordinarily keep the leopard populations lower -- leopards also survive better around people. The only real disease problems are bovine tuberculosis in inbred lion populations (outbred populations can withstand bTB ok) and canine distemper virus when an epidemic happens to coincide with an outbreak of tick-borne disease -- otherwise lions seem to cope with CDV ok. The flies are usually a sign that the lions are too sick to brush them off.


Q:

What do you do when you cross paths with a FedEx truck?

A:

How similar to lions are house cats? Is it true they're essentially 'tiny lions'?


Q:

Drag race every time

A:

Tiny lions except for doing things together (like catching a large prey animal) and engaging in gang warfare against their neighbors.... House cats are solitaries at heart! Also, lions don't purr!


Q:

A driver (different company) forged my signature on a delivery (that required a signature), and left it outside. Is that a common thing, or is he way out of line?

I imagine there is a lot of pressure from above this time of year to make deliveries, which is fair enough, but not knocking (when I'm home) and forging a signature is a bit over the top

A:

Will the Lions get to the Superbowl this season?

Joke Question aside, Is it true that Lions are basically overgrown cats? Like, do the like getting petted and things of that sort?


Q:

As the other commenter said, UPS handles this very seriously. I have personally seen drivers lose their jobs and be charged for this. And usually the situation was harmless like they know the guy for 10 years so any other time he would be fine with it,but the package just so happened to be stolen so now there's a problem.

A:

Egad, I'm afraid i was a Packer before I started studying lions -- and besides who would ever make a lion wear a blue uniform -- so I will be rooting for my namesakes this weekend.... Lions like it when they rub up against their companions -- they are very tactile and affectionate to members of their own immediate family. But they also engage in gang warfare against their neighbors. So they are certainly very catlike -- but also a lot like humans in the sense of doing things as a group.


Q:

What can brown do for me?

A:

Hi Craig! What is your favorite lion of all time? Have you ever thought about combating lion poachers first hand by creating a rogue force? If so, please IM me- #JusticeforCecil


Q:

Prolly ship something idk what you need

A:

There was a lion I got to know when I first started working in the Serengeti. Our predecessors on the lion project had named her Goka. When i first met her, she was about 3 yrs old, playful and curious. She was mating with a big black-maned male, and she blithely came up to chew on the tire of my Land Rover -- I worried that she might bite all the way thru the tread and leave me stranded with a flat tire. So I reached out the window and banged on the side of the car with my fist. She jumped back half a step, but her consort partner leapt straight at my arm in a fit of jealousy. I pulled my hand back inside in time, but I wondered if I would survive the next few years in the Serengeti.
A few months later, Goka unhitched the guy ropes of a tent with a BBC film team inside and tried to drag everyone across the plains. The following year, I got out of my car near a rocky outcrop (kopje) and walked around to stretch my legs. When I turned back, Goka was stalking me -- and she was halfway between me and my car. I made a lot of noise, clapped my hands and made it back to the car -- and Goka just watched as I ran past. Nothing really seemed to bother her, and there was something about her that made her seem really intelligent. She lived to be 15 yrs of age (the oldest female we ever studied in the Serengeti lived to 19), so she had a long life, but her pride territory was in a really challenging part of the park with little to eat for much of the year, and she only ever managed to raise one cub to maturity, a son who moved to a different part of the park, found a companion, and started his own family.


Q:

Ballpark, what is your paycheck like? I hear driving for UPS is a high demand job because of how well it pays. Having being in the beverage distribution business, many drivers have left to join UPS.

A:

Hi Craig! What is your favorite lion of all time? Have you ever thought about combating lion poachers first hand by creating a rogue force? If so, please IM me- #JusticeforCecil


Q:

After 4 years hitting cap pay you'll be right at 6 figures. Benefits are all paid for as well.

A:

As for saving lions, there are almost no lion "poachers" -- people kill lions that have attacked their families of livestock, so they are trying to protect themselves and their property. The best solution is to build wildlife-proof fences wherever possible so as to protect people from lions and eliminate the need for retaliation. Where fences can't be built, it is important to help local people improve their livestock husbandry.


Q:

Do UPS drivers ever steal packages? I've heard stories of drivers stealing certain things and marking them as "delivered" to the buyer. One case specifically was over a pair of yeezys (a popular shoe that resells for around 600-800 dollars) and the ups driver marked the package as delivered but apparently drove off with them.

My question specifically is, have you ever witnessed/heard of another driver stealing packages or someone claiming you/another driver stole packages?

A:

Hi Craig, thanks for your hard work! I've always wondered, all lions look similar, if not identical, to me. Have you ever had difficulty distinguishing lions from each other? Or they just have distinct personalities and roles in their groups that it wouldn't be too hard to tell them apart?


Q:

Not that I have known. I'm sure it's happened. Nothing I'm delivering is worth losing my job security, my salary and benefits over.

Most things I have no idea what they are anyways. Normally just brown boxes you know?

A:

If you have a cat on hand, take a close look at its whiskers -- there is a unique pattern of dots on each side. We use whisker spots to identify each lion when they are young. As they get older, they acquire various notches in the ears, some get broken tails, others have conspicuous scars on their noses, etc. These all help, but, you are right -- they are very hard to keep straight without a good pair of binoculars! Except for the males, of course, which have quite variable manes.


Q:

I was a seasonal driver's helper briefly. Is it common for drivers not near a public restroom to poop into a plastic rain bag in the back of the truck, then leave it the next customer trashcan they find? Or did I just have a particularly bad driver?

A:

how did you get started studying about lions? and why lions of all animals?


Q:

Gotta do what you gotta do. I have pretty good body chemistry I'd say so I get that done in the morning, but I've peed in many a cup and bottles

A:

I started off studying monkeys and became intrigued by the way that baboons sometimes cooperated in their disputes with each other (mothers helped their daughters vs. other females; a pair of males would form a temporary coalition against a third). So as time went on, I wanted to find a highly cooperative species that I could study in more detail, and lions fit the bill: they hunt together, raise their cubs together and defend joint territories -- so it was a good choice!


Q:

How often do you mess up your addresses?

A:

Do you think the Lions will win the superbowl and why do you think they will?


Q:

Not too often. Normally, especially in the peak busy times, if I had like 4 houses that I would do in one stop. I might sit the piece for house 22 on 24 or something.

9/10 I catch it before I leave that area, because I notice on the next box that something is wrong. The other 1/10 the customer will usually just take it to their neighbor, but not always.

A:

I'm thinking that the Lions will have a hard time getting past the Packers this weekend...


Q:

Thanks! Asked because we had three incidents over Christmas!

A:

Looks like you're not a Lions expert


Q:

It happens man. Especially in the heavy residential areas. Having to get rid of 500 boxes in a day, when you left the building late already is stressful. Then its dark at 5 and you're out til 9:30. It sucks. Best you can do for us is just take it to your neighbor. We'll come get it and make it right if you can't.

A:

Ha! Well, good luck to you -- but don't you think that the Lions should change their team colors from Blue and Silver to, say, Brown and Tawny or Sienna or something more lion-like? After all, the Bengals are orange and black!


Q:

I was a seasonal driver this peak. From what I gathered listening to other drivers is, a bad helper can slow you down, many helpers do suck and ups will hire almost any trash for the job. I'm not too sure about the accuracy of what I'm about type, but I would guess the biggest reason is Christmas bonus. I think drivers get extra money for finishing ahead of plan. For every stop you are alloted x amount of time. If you get a signature you get more time for the stop than if you driver release the package. Similarly having a helper reduces the time allotted per stop. So say ups says it should take you 8 hrs to do this route by yourself and 6 hours if you have a helper, now you are fast and can get it done in 6 by yourself or 5 with a helper. Going by yourself doesn't keep you on the road much longer than having help but doubles your bonus.

A:

Why are academics often so humble?

Why do so many academics lack the courage to call themselves "the world's authority" on their field of study?


Q:

I went through two helpers this peak. The third I didn't care for either. You're there to help me, I'm not training you. So if you aren't doing things the way I want, quickly, then I'm getting rid of you.

A:

I flinch whenever I hear people call me that -- but I guess everyone wants to know who's the #1 in their respective fields. And I reluctantly agreed to the title on this AMA because my research group and I all really did want to grab everyone's attention!


Q:

I was thinking about a package handler ama a few days ago!

When I worked in fast food most if not every package handler that came to drop off supplies was a well built 6ft+ tall

My question is how tall / fit are you? What does your diet look like? How do you manage to move heavy boxes around all day?

I've always been small and cant seem to gain weight so i thought you might be able to help me out with some of your life experience.

Thanks a bunch XD.

A:

Would you ever have a lion as a pet and how easy/hard would it be to take care of one if possible?


Q:

I'm about 5'11" pretty skinny. Barely 150lbs on a good day. We have some small dudes on the team, as well as some women (if you are worried about lifting weight, since typically women aren't as strong as men) who do the job perfectly fine. My diet sucks ass because I don't eat all day and if I do I snack. You have to be able to handle a 150 pound package, and it does happen. You just wrestle them around til it's there. But if you really need help they tell you to ask the customer or ask before you leave the building so they can have someone meet you to help.

The hand cart is your friend too.

A:

Lions should never be treated as pets. Once they grow up, they are far too dangerous and will have to be put down.


Q:

Is there a company policy against smoking in your vehicle? My packages show up smelly and it pisses me off.

A:

How does one suddenly get involved in conservation efforts? Do people approach you knowing that you're knowledgable, or did you have to seek out an organization?


Q:

I'm really not sure, I hate when I get a different truck and someone has smoked in it. So I feel your pain, and I apologize for it.

A:

It really depends on where you are in your life. If you are still in school or college, you could consider entering the field of conservation biology or environmental science. If you already have another career, you could think about working part-time or volunteering for a conservation agency -- there are volunteer opportunities out there for periods ranging from a few weeks to a few years. If you are wealthy, you can find an organization that you believe in and make a financial contribution. Hope that helps!


Q:

How long do you wait after ringing a doorbell before coming to the conclusion that the customer is not at home and then leave?

A:

What do lions taste like?


Q:

What the other guy said it's what I do. If I see no cars around the house that's a good indication. I know it's not fullproof but if there are cars or I expect kids to be home from school I will stay a tad bit longer, but not very long. I see people say we are too fast. It takes me like 10 seconds to get to my door from anywhere in my house. If you can't open your door by then, I can't help you. I have a job I need to get done. If I learn it's an elderly person with walking issues, I'll wait longer

Another tip is that if you happen to just miss us, get in your car, I'm probably right up the street.

A:

I don't know. A number of American restaurants have served lion meat over the past few years, but they got into a lot of trouble with animal rights organizations!


Q:

UPS delivery guys do a great job - I appreciate it. Does your truck start automatically when you put your foot on the gas like a gas golf cart or do you have to turn the key each start/stop?

A:

It's pretty ballsy calling yourself the 'world's authority' of anything. Who appointed you? You have some sweeping generalizations about hunting... As a scientist I would have expected more precision in your responses.


Q:

There's a push to start button on the dash, push once to accessory and then again to start. Same button cuts it off and opens the door. Have to have the keyfob that we have too.

A:

I agree that it sounds presumptuous, but that's how everyone introduces me wherever I give public presentations on lion biology and lion conservation. I guess it's because I've been studying lions for nearly 40 yrs and have written over 100 scientific papers on lions -- as well as two books. I've also written a number of papers on the population impacts of trophy hunting -- which is complicated in lions because the males play an important role in lion society. If you shoot a male elk or impala, you've only removed a single individual from the population -- the male doesn't do anything to protect his wives or children. But a male lion is someone's daddy -- and once he is removed from a pride, a replacement male will come in and kill his cubs. So lion hunting can have serious repercussions for the population as a whole. Our research confirmed that lion hunting has been excessive in many parts of Africa, likely contributing to population decline in Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana at some point over the past 20 yrs. As a result, various African countries have passed regulations that restrict hunting to lions older than 6 yrs of age (thus minimizing the impacts of subsequent infanticide) -- but government corruption is so bad in a few countries that the age minimum is not strictly enforced. If you'd like to read about all this in more detail, you could check out my book, Lions in the Balance, which is available on Amazon, or look for some of my scientific papers which are posted on the Lion Research website at the University of Minnesota.


Q:

Do you judge people who come answer their door for a package at 3pm or later clearly just having woken up and still dazed from having their sleep disturbed? I'm a student and I'm pretty sure my mailman either feels sorry for me or really judges me

Not that I care too much but just curious thanks!

A:

I might think look at this guy just at home all day but then I wish I was too. Or that you work nights or whatever.


Q:

one thing that always bugged me, is the openness of the driver's seat... when it's cold and/or raining, how do you not get catch a cold?

A:

You can shut the doors, but it's a pain to open every stop. You just deal with it. Part of the job