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Panthera’s Senior Lion and Cheetah Program Directors, Dr. Paul Funston is an internationally recognized large carnivore biologist, with a strong interest in how ecosystems function and how these can be maintained in the face of human development. 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.
Paul spent many years in the field as a post-doc researcher and 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, before a decade in academia. He was Associate Professor at Tshwane University of Technology, Department of Nature Conservation, where he developed a rangewide lion conservation program. Paul has published over 50 scientific papers, numerous reports, two books, and scripted several documentary films, some of which he has also appeared in as a wildlife expert.