Vanishing Kings


Lions of the Namib Desert

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Vanishing Kings is the astonishing story of the unique desert lions of Namibia, recorded through the pen and lens of a meticulous conservationist and scientist who photographed and documented them methodically over decades. With the help of behavioural wildlife film specialists Will and Lianne Steenkamp, Dr Philip Stander has worked hard to focus the world’s attention on these amazing animals and their plight and thereby hopefully help safeguard their future.

This book is the result of 20 years of intensive research on a unique population of lions. The first part covers Philip’s initial involvement with the desert lions and the beginning of the Desert Lion Project, revealing the challenges of doing research on large carnivores in an arid ecosystem like the Namib. In the latter part, Philip writes about the intimate life stories of some of the most captivating male desert lions that have ever existed. He had the privilege of following Adolf, Rosh and the Terrace Male throughout their lives. Towards the end of the book we join Philip in the narration as the three of them collectively give an in-depth account of each chapter in the life story of the ‘Five Musketeers’, the most prominent characters in this desert lion saga.

Vanishing Kings – Lions of the Namib Desert tells the story of the desert kings that thrived and vanished in this vast unspoilt wilderness. These are the kings who made a difference, each one of them having played a significant role in the small and elusive desert population that continues to battle for survival today. It’s a story of both tragedy and hope, observed over a period of multiple generations of lion prides, through the eyes of a scientist who took on the challenge of a truly unprecedented qualitative study. Decades of scientific highlights and never-before-documented behaviour are interwoven with the most striking images captured by Philip and Will, through which intimate life stories, remarkable adventures, and experiences of unimaginable importance are revealed, making this book a comprehensive, highly informative yet entertaining account of Namibia’s astonishing desert lions.

This book helps us to understand how these unique lions have adapted to survive in such a hostile environment. In addition, we gain insight into the crucial role that male lions play within this small, fragile population, and what the detrimental consequences are of them vanishing. But above all we learn to appreciate and admire this extraordinary predator that seems so unlikely to be able to survive in a place like the Namib Desert, yet somehow does. Their secret is revealed. Hopefully, in turn, this knowledge will help bring concensus among humans to do more to conserve this rarest of lions.

Hardcover, with French-folded jacket, ISBN 978-0-9946924-6-7
Size 280 x 210mm; 360 pages all-colour 250 colour, 59 b/w photographs, 18 maps, 37 charts and diagrams highest repro & binding quality. Printed on 150gsm matt paper

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