The Namib is the only place on Earth where a small population of desert-adapted lions occurs. Remarkably, these unique lions have survived along the Namib’s Skeleton Coast for decades, but until 20 years ago they were merely phantoms – elusive and seldom seen – and then believed to have become extinct.
In 1997, scientist Dr Philip Stander discovered a small pride of survivors in the heart of the desert and began to study the lions: a study which turned into a lifelong commitment. Through the years he was able to unfold the secrets surrounding these highly adaptive big cats who appeared to thrive in their harsh environment.
Having followed multiple generations of Desert lions from birth to adulthood, Stander takes the reader into their fascinating world, one that would otherwise have remained largely unknown. Through his intimate accounts of several male Desert lions’ life stories, we come to understand how these rare lions survive in the relentless Namib Desert.
Illustrated with over 300 astonishing images of Desert lions and other desert-adapted animals that survive in the Namib, this book is an account of one of the most remarkable research projects ever undertaken.
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.
Text by Philip Stander & Lianne Steenkamp
Photography by Philip Stander & Will Steenkamp