Vanishing Kings: A Celebration of the adaptation of Lions
Vanishing Kings – Lions of the Namib Desert is a unique record of an elusive predator in an unusual environment. It uncovers the secret lives of a small population of desert-adapted lions which occurs only in the oldest desert on our planet, the Namib. A first-ever, this extraordinary book about Desert lions celebrates the highly adaptive nature of one of our planet’s most iconic predators which continues to battle for survival in today’s world.
A lioness… caught by the camera in mid-stride as it prepares to attack an adult Gemsbok. This is not an unusual tableau for Africa, but where you might expect to see it amidst a landscape of savannah, this particular image has a copper coloured sand dune and the ocean as a backdrop.
It is a photograph from a new book published by HPH Publishing, which will change so much of what you thought you knew about lions and their natural habitat. The culmination of two decades of research by Dr Philip Stander, ‘Vanishing Kings – Lions of the Namib Desert’ provides unprecedented insight into how lions have adapted to this harsh environment. The book has succeeded in merging art and hard science into a profoundly detailed and beautiful book that will find its place as easily on a coffee table in the environmentally conscious home as on the shelf of the most discerning conservationist.
While it documents a long-term study that is ongoing, Stander acknowledges that it was important to take the time away from the active research to produce the book, ‘Vanishing Kings – Lions of the Namib Desert’, and we believe a multitude of readers will agree. It portrays the lives of four consecutive generations of Namib lions which Stander was able to follow and come to know individually for the duration of their lifespans. Each lion is afforded the chance to play a character in this story, revealing individual personality traits captured in anecdotes and interactions as well as compelling photographs. The book will strike a chord with anyone with a love for these noble creatures, and also promises to reach them in a way they may not have been reached before – visually, intellectually, emotionally, and for the more academic reader – scientifically – because most research events in the book are original data that have not previously been published
What Stander and his collaborators—wildlife filmmakers Will and Lianne Steenkamp who have produced a film and sequel by the same name—have managed to create through Vanishing Kings will be felt for years to come. In a world of instant gratification, it is a celebration of the value of long-term work that reflects a complete immersion into a time and place. The ongoing theme of human-wildlife conflict presents as many solutions as challenges and has already influenced conservation policy in Namibia. It is also a relevant and comprehensive case study for the collaboration of multiple disciplines in conservation, research, tourism and government.
Your purchase will also assist in the conservation of these magnificent creatures, as R100 of each book sold will go to towards Desert lion conservation.
About the authors
Philip Stander has over 30 years’ experience in the field of wildlife management and research, the last two decades of which he has spent focusing exclusively on the desert-adapted lions of Namibia. He obtained his PhD from Cambridge University in 1995 for which he received the Thomas Henry Huxley Award from the Zoological Society of London.
Will & Lianne Steenkamp have been in the wildlife film industry for well over a decade. They specialise in behavioural-driven wildlife films, which keeps them in remote wilderness areas for years on end. Their films have won numerous awards and nominations, including an Emmy nomination for Vanishing Kings – Lions of the Namib. In 2002, Will completed a national diploma in Nature Conservation at the Technical University of Tshwane and, in 2008, a master’s degree in Environmental Management at the University of the Free State. In 2004, Lianne completed a bachelor’s degree in Audiovisual Media at the University of the Arts Utrecht in the Netherlands.