About the Initiative
From lions in Kenya to snow leopards in the Himalaya, the big cats of the world need help. Lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, jaguars, and other top felines are quickly disappearing, all victims of habitat loss and degradation as well as conflicts with humans.
To address this critical situation, the National Geographic Society and Explorers-in-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert, have launched the Big Cats Initiative, a comprehensive program that supports on-the-ground conservation projects, education, and economic incentive efforts and a global public-awareness campaign. “We no longer have the luxury of time when it comes to big cats,” says Dereck Joubert. “They are in such a downward spiral that if we hesitate now, we will be responsible for extinctions across the globe. If there was ever a time to take action, it is now.” You can help us make a difference. Your donation can help save a big cat and ensure the Earth is not without these majestic creatures. Please donate today! You also can help by signing up for Big Cats Initiative updates with the Explorers Newsletter. To see how we use donations to BCI, read our 2011 Annual Donor Report.
First Step: Halting Decline of Lions and Cheetahs
Lions are dying off rapidly across Africa. These cats once ranged across the continent and into Syria, Israel, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran, and even northwest India; 2,000 years ago more than a million lions roamed the Earth. Since the 1940s, when lions numbered an estimated 400,000, lion populations have blinked out across the continent. Now they may total as few as 20,000 animals. Scientists connect the drastic decreases in many cases to burgeoning human populations. The Big Cats Initiative aims to halt lion population declines by the year 2015 and to restore populations to sustainable levels.
The Big Cats Initiative is made up of conservationists led by National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert. Having lived and worked in some of Africa’s most remote areas for more than 25 years as authors and filmmakers, the Jouberts have embraced the cause of wildlife conservation, especially for big cats. They are active conservationists in Botswana, members of the IUCN Lion Working Group, and founding members of the Chobe Wildlife Trust and of Conservation International in Botswana. The Jouberts also work in ecotourism and on building community partnerships.
Partners and Funders Sought
National Geographic will collaborate with local and international NGOs, corporations, local community groups, and individuals to work with saving lions and ensuring the future of this multiyear initiative.
Big Cat Features
The king of the African savannah is in serious trouble because of massive conversion of the continent’s remaining wilderness to human land-use, according to a detailed study.
Intensely shy and hovering on the edge of extinction, Iranian cheetahs are essentially impossible to see.
Thinking of snow leopards as domesticated—and thus dependent on people for food—may help save the dwindling species, one conservationist claims.
Beating Usain Bolt's best, Sarah the "polka-dotted missile" clocked the world's fastest recorded time for a 100-meter run.
2011 Donor Report
Want to know what we do with your donations to BCI? Read our 2011 annual report for donors.