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GRANT ATKINSON : Lions of Botswana

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Lions are becoming an endangered species across Africa

Grant Atkinson - Chobe, Botswana [2008 ©]
Lions are becoming an endangered species across Africa

Grant grew up on the well-named ‘Wild Coast’ of South Africa, one of the most traditional, undeveloped parts of South Africa. He explored its grassy hills, dotted with mud huts, and the rivers, beaches and lagoons of its beautiful coast. No city environment would ever contain Grant, but his life as a wool dealer in the countryside left him dissatisfied.

In 1999 he took the plunge and moved to Botswana. The vast wildlife areas in the northern part of the country were well established and the Okavango, in particular, had achieved a status as the most pristine safari environment in southern Africa.

Grant landed a job as a manager and guide on the exclusive Jao island in the Delta. Here he began to observe the behaviour of the lions, often through the camera lens, but also as an observer, intrigued by the social patterns of the prides, which did not fit the text book accounts of how lions behave.

Grant Atkinson - okavango, Botswana [2005 © Grant Atkinson] - Grant Atkinson - Lions Of Botswana - Great Guides

Work to the north-east of the delta in the Linyanti brought him into contact with more lions. His observation continued and Wilderness safaris supported him in a major survey that now extends to 200 lions in prides across a vast area of over 700,000 acres in northern Botswana. 

Grant has spent many years observing lions across northern Botswana

His statistical work, in particular, demonstrates the impact of hunting, poaching and human settlement on lion numbers. Indeed he has shown that lions are in decline, and could become an endangered species.

Meanwhile Grant’s reputation as a guide and photographer grew and he now guides safaris for Wilderness Safaris throughout the region. He also writes a weekly blog for Africa Geographic.

Author: Roddy Bray
Published Date: 07 Jan 2011
Location: Southern Africa | Botswana
Themes: natural world, travel | fauna, safari guide, conservation