Our People

Neil Midlane

Conservation Tourism Director, Impact Management, NatureVest

Cape Town, South Africa

Conservation Tourism Director

Neil Midlane Neil Midlane © Paul Ruffolo

Areas of Expertise

Large carnivore conservation, transboundary conservation, finance

Media Contact

Andrew Tingley
ph. +1 917-270-1313


Dr. Neil Midlane is the Conservation Tourism Director for NatureVest's Impact Management team, working to assist conservation tourism operators in Africa impacted by the COVID pandemic. Neil's work aims to revive and grow the contributions of the tourism industry to biodiversity conservation and community empowerment in some of Africa’s most important wild landscapes.

Neil is part of the NatureVest Impact Management team. The team is working towards the following key objectives:

  • Establishing minimum standards for investments to avoid negative environmental impacts
  • Identifying opportunities for investments to deliver impact alongside returns
  • Advising on best practices for land and water management
  • Measuring climate and biodiversity outcomes
  • Neil brings expertise across the spheres of conservation, tourism, and finance. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant, an accomplished safari guide, he has worked in the banking industry, and he founded and ran the Kafue Lion Project in Zambia’s Kafue National Park. His work in Kafue earned him a PhD in Zoology through the University of Cape Town, his thesis produced the first scientific estimate of lion numbers in this critical landscape and identified the key threats to the population. Neil’s findings also helped to establish a fund to combat poaching in key areas of Kafue.

    More recently, Neil held management roles in the conservation and impact space at Singita and Wilderness Safaris, two leading African conservation tourism companies.

    Neil is a member of the African Lion Working Group, the Mozambique Carnivore Working Group, the KAZA Elephant Working Group, the KAZA Carnivore Working Group and the Transfrontier Specialist Group.

    Neil is an avid trail runner and surf ski paddler and spends much of his free time exploring the mountains and oceans in and around Cape Town

    Education and Designations:

  • PhD in Zoology, University of Cape Town
  • MPhil in Environmental Management, University of Stellenbosch
  • Chartered Accountant (South Africa)
  • Honours B. Accounting, University of Stellenbosch
  • Articles/Publications:

  • Ph.D. Thesis. University of Cape Town.
    The conservation status and dynamics of a protected African lion Panthera leo population in Kafue National Park, Zambia
    Midlane, N., O’Riain, M. J., Balme, G. A., Hunter, L. T. B. 2014.
  • Biological Conservation, 172: 101-108.
    On tracks: A spoor-based occupancy survey of lion Panthera leo distribution in Kafue National Park, Zambia.
    Midlane, N., O’Riain, M. J., Balme, G. A., Hunter, L. T. B. 2014.
  • Biodiversity and Conservation, 24: 1311-1327.
    To track or to call: comparing methods for estimating population abundance of African lions Panthera leo in Kafue National Park.
    Midlane, N., O’Riain, M. J., Balme, G. A., Hunter, L. T. B. 2015.
  • In Pinnock, D. and Bell, C. The Last Elephants, pp 307-316.
    The success of Singita Grumeti.
    Midlane, N. 2019.
  • Population Ecology, 61: 256-267.  
    Big cats at large: Density, structure, and spatio-temporal patterns of a leopard population free of anthropogenic mortality.
    Balme, G., Rogan, M., Thomas, L., Pitman, R., Mann, G., Whittington-Jones, G., Midlane, N., Broodryk, M., Broodryk, K., Campbell, M., Alkema, M., Wright, D., Hunter, L. 2019.
  • Diversity and Distributions, 25: 870-879.
    A century of decline: Loss of genetic diversity in a southern African lion-conservation stronghold.
    Dures, S. G., Carbone, C., Loveridge, A. J., Maude, G., Midlane, N., Aschenborn, O., Gottelli, D. 2019. 
  • PlosONE.
    The Significance of African Lions for the Financial Viability of Trophy Hunting and the Maintenance of Wild Land.
    Lindsey, P. A., Balme, G. A., Booth, V. R., Midlane, N. 2012.
  • African Journal of Wildlife Research, 42.
    Possible relationships between the South African captive-bred lion hunting industry and the hunting and conservation of lions elsewhere in Africa. Southern  Lindsey, P., Balme, G., Midlane, N., Alexander, R., Craig, J. 2012.
  • Conservation, 160: 80-96. The bushmeat trade in African savannas: Impacts, drivers and possible solutions. Biological Lindsey, P. A., Balme, G., Becker, M., Midlane, N., et al. 2013.
  • PlosONE.
    The Trophy Hunting of African Lions: Scale, Current Management Practices and Factors Undermining Sustainability.
    Lindsey, P. A., Balme, G. A., Funston, P., Henschel, P., Hunter, L., Madzikanda, H., Midlane, N., Nyirenda, V. 2013.
  • Ecological Applications, 31.
    Response of lion demography and dynamics to the loss of preferred larger prey. Vinks, M. A., Creel, S., Schuette, P., Becker, M. S., Rosenblatt, E., Sanguinetti, C., Banda, K., Goodheart, B., Young-Overton, K., Stevens, X., Chifunte, C., Midlane, N., Simukonda, C. 2021.
  • + Read full biography - Collapse biography