The Lives of Animals Research Group

The Lives of Animals Research Group

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LIONS (Panthera leo)



Problem animals emerge in human-dominated landscapes or in nature-culture borderlands where humans and animals struggle to co-exist. African lions (Panthera leo) become problem lions when they prey upon livestock. Problem lions are frequently killed in retaliation for livestock depredation and are often collared and tracked by conservation biologists who monitor problem individuals in an attempt to mitigate their behaviour. Human-lion conflict prevails in Botswana, particularly in the borderlands of parks and protected areas.

Sandra McCubbin joined our research team as a doctoral student in 2015. Previously, she completed a Masters degree in Geography focussed on how Pacific Island communities experience the impacts the climate change. Sandra’s PhD project explores the network within which lions emerge as problems in Botswana. Sandra is currently preparing for her qualifying exam and will conduct fieldwork in 2017.

Sandra’s research is generously supported by a Vanier Scholarship. We are collaborating, in part, with conservation biologists from the Botswana Lion Corridor Project via the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at University of Oxford.


McCubbin, Sandra (presenter) and Alice J. Hovorka. 2017. Shaping African Lionscapes: An event ethnography of the Cecil Summit. Paper presented at the CAG Annual Meeting, Toronto Canada. May 2017.

McCubbin, Sandra G. 2016. How do lions become problems? Exploring human-lion conflict in Botswana. Research Showcase, School of Graduate Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, October 15 2016.

McCubbin, Sandra G. 2016. Problem Lions in Botswana: Conflict, Conservation, and Power. Geographical Imaginations Geography Graduate Symposium 2016, Kingston, April 5, 2016.