Serving as Panthera’s Senior Lion Program Director, Dr. Paul Funston is an internationally recognized large carnivore biologist, with a strong interest in ecosystem functions and developing integrated conservation programs across Africa. Born in South Africa, Paul studied Zoology and Botany at the University of Natal, and completed his PhD at the University of Pretoria’s Mammal Research Institute. Paul’s PhD work focused on predator-prey relationships and territorial behavior of African lions in South Africa’s Kruger National Park.
Thereafter he spent several years as an independent biologist consultant, managing multi-disciplinary research programs contributing to the management of large national parks in southern Africa, including three years spent managing the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Lion Project in South Africa/Botswana. After spending a decade largely in the bush, Paul devoted nearly ten years to his career at Tshwane University of Technology, in the Department of Nature Conservation. Here, Paul served as Associate Professor and developed his research interests in lions - integrating lessons of ecology and conservation biology into strong beliefs on the development of conservation programs in Africa to achieve large carnivore persistence and biological functioning.
To date, Paul has published over 40 scientific papers, numerous reports, and two books. Paul has also scripted several documentary films, some of which he has also appeared in as a wildlife expert. Currently, Paul serves as a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Cat Specialist Group, Conservation Breeding Specialist Group and African Lion Working Group.
Selected Publications Featuring Dr. Funston
- Ham, A. (May 2013). Brawn and Brains: Africa's Clever Carnivores. Africa Geographic
- A.A.K (April 2013) Animal Behaviour: Cat Scan. The Economist
Selected Scientific Publications by Dr. Funston
- Snyma, A., Jackson, C. R., Funston, P. J., (2014) The Effect of Alternative Forms of Hunting on the Social Organization of Two Small Populations of Lions Panthera Leo in Southern Africa Fauna & Flora International, Oryx, 1–7
- Packer, C., S. Canney, A. Loveridge, S.T. Garnett, M. Pfeifer, K.K. Zander, A. Swanson, D. MacNulty, G. Balme, P.J. Funston et al. (2013) Conserving Large Carnivores: Dollars and Fence. Ecology Letters doi: 10.1111/ele.12091.
- Louw, H., Funston, P.J., Greeff, A. & Kloppers, H.S. (2012) The applicability of lion prey selection models to smaller game reserves in South Africa. South African Journal of Wildlife Research 42(2): 1-9.
- De Iongh, H.H., Croes, B., Rasmussen, G., Buij, R. & Funston, P.J. (2011) The status of cheetah and African wild dog in the Bénoué Ecosystem, North Cameroon. Cat News 55, 29-31.
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