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7/24/13: Lion Research
MSI PI Professor Craig Packer (Ecology, Evolution and Behavior) has been studying lions in Africa for decades. His work appears in the August issue of National Geographic magazine. One article, “Living With Lions,” discusses how humans and lions can successfully coexist. Another, “The Short Happy Life of a Serengeti Lion,” is about Professor Packer’s extensive research into the behavior of these animals, the only big cats who live in groups. This article describes Professor Packer as “arguably the world’s leading authority on the behavior and ecology of the African lion.”
Professor Packer’s group is using MSI resources to run a computer model they have created to investigate the transmission of bovine tuberculosis in the lions of Kruger National Park. Lions contract bovine TB, an exotic invasive disease in the park, through consumption of prey that are infected with the disease and from other lions. The model uses approximate Bayesian computation techniques to define the likely statistical transmission rates and use these to forecast lion population size and disease prevalence.
BBC Radio also broadcast a story about Professor Packer and his research, which you can listen to on their website.