Dr. Paul Funston

Dr Paul Funston is Senior Director: Lion Program at Panthera, the global leaders in cat conservation. Paul has been involved in lion research and conservation for over 25 years and is world renowned for his knowledge and passion for lions across Africa. Based in Namibia’s Zambezi Region, in the heart of the Kavanago-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA), the largest in the world, Paul has a particular passion for the lions and the people that live in and around protected areas with lions.

Paul is determined to see lion populations either secured or recovered in the key protected areas of Africa. The KAZA area offers a unique location to implement conservation action aimed specifically at lions. Paul is an accomplished photographer having published a photographic essay of the bush experience “Spirit on the Bush” and many popular and scientific articles.

As well as being Panthera’s Lion Senior Director, Paul is also Panthera Regional Director: Southern Africa where he manages conservation efforts for all species of cats in the region. Paul is an internationally recognised large carnivore biologist, having worked on lions specifically for 25 years, has published widely on them, and influenced conservation policy in many African countries.

His PhD focused on the hunting and social behaviour of male lions, a subject matter still important to Paul as male lions are key to maintaining connectivity between populations of lions. Paul has spent time in the field with many lion researchers across the African landscape and has intimate knowledge of the threats facing lions and how these can best be mitigated. He is both very practical and hands-on, while also able to think big and push for improvements for large cats. Having started his career studying lion social behaviour and ecology, Paul is Panthera’s leading champion trying to save lions in the wild and return several key populations to former levels.