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  • Writer's pictureJolene Botha

Smithsonian Channel to air Desert Lion Documentary July 11

Earlier this year conservation filmmakers Will and Lianne Steenkamp generously shared the sequel to their Vanishing Kings documentary with a rapt audience of Bushtracks’ guests at a private screening in San Francisco. Many of our attendees asked how they could watch the profoundly moving film again, or share it with friends, and we finally have an answer!

The Smithsonian Channel has just announced it will begin airing King of the Desert Lions on Wednesday, July 11 at 8:00 p.m., as well as other days and times in July (check your local listings for more information and specifics). King of the Desert Lions is a sequel to Vanishing Kings, Lions of the Namib and resumes the coming of age of the ‘Five Musketeers,’ a coalition of five inseparable lion brothers raised in the ancient Namib Desert.

Lion laying on a sand dune in Africa - photo by Will Steenkamp

Upon reaching young adulthood, the five males leave their mother to seek their own kingdom, encountering perils in an unforgiving landscape, with one brother boldly separating from the group and charting his own course. The film is the result of four years of field work by the Steenkamps who collaborated with the world’s foremost expert on desert lions, scientist Dr. Philip Stander. The filmmakers spent 2011 to 2015 in the field following this specific pride of desert lions, and have been widely praised by filmmakers and conservationists alike for their impressive undertaking which has sparked global interest and compassion for the lions’ plight.

Will and Lianne Steenkamp with their camera

Since the first broadcast of the two films, international conservation authorities and the government of Namibia have taken action to address human-lion conflicts. Namibia called for an official draft of a new Human-Lion Conflict Management Plan to address the growing human-lion conflict. Dr. Philip Stander, the desert-lion scientist who is featured in both documentaries, was commissioned to draft the new policy, which was signed into law late last year.

So be sure to mark your calendars for July 11, and help spread awareness about human-lion conflict by passing the word on to others. For travelers wishing to experience the lions’ extreme habitat, and view the extraordinary desert-adapted wildlife who call it home, the camps featured in the film are included on our Namibia’s Red Dunes and Rhinos safari.

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The first version of this article was posted on 3 Jul 2018 at 1:40 PM.


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