National Geographic

About the Big Cats Initiative

Saving lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, and other big cats in the wild.

An African cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus) appears to be leaping in the air in mid-sprint.

Photograph by Chris Johns

A Growing Problem

National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative was founded in 2009 with Dereck and Beverly Joubert—filmmakers, conservationists, and explorers-in-residence—as a long-term effort to halt the decline of big cats in the wild. The initiative supports efforts to save big cats through assessment, on-the-ground conservation, education, and global public-awareness campaigns.

Our Approach

The Big Cats Initiative takes a three-pronged approach to halt the decline of big cats in the wild.

We Assess

The Big Cats Initiative assesses and maps current populations of big cats worldwide and analyzes the success of measures implemented to help protect them. This knowledge helps guide the on-the-ground protection efforts the Big Cats Initiative chooses to fund.

We Protect

The Big Cats Initiative supports conservation projects designed and implemented by people living in the areas where big cats live. The Big Cats Initiative grantees work in parts of the world where people and wildlife collide, allowing them to foster a sense of peaceful coexistence between big cats and local communities.

We Communicate

Together with Nat Geo WILD, the Big Cats Initiative is spreading the word about the decline of big cats in the wild through an award-winning awareness campaign called Cause an Uproar. With this effort, the public is encouraged to help save big cats through free education initiatives and big cats programming on Nat Geo WILD.

Where We Work

The Big Cats Initiative supports on-the-ground research and conservation efforts to help save big cats in the wild. With your support, the Big Cats Initiative has funded more than 110 grants across 28 countries. See where in the world we're helping save big cats.  


Map of Big Cats Initiative conservation work

  Lions     Cheetahs     Snow Leopards     Tigers     Jaguars

Logo of Nat Geo Wild

Nat Geo WILD presents a week dedicated to nature’s fiercest felines—big cats—creatures of magnificent strength, ferocity, and beauty that are rapidly facing extinction. With visually stunning and powerful stories from around the world, get closer than ever before to lions, tigers, cheetahs, panthers, and more as you share in their triumphs, defeats, and epic struggles to survive.

Get Involved

Donate to save big cats, sign up for important updates from the field, and share our work with your friends.

Find Out How

With Support From

In Partnership With

National Geographic collaborates with multiple local and international NGOs, corporations, local community groups, and individuals on this effort.


African People & Wildlife, Anne Kent Taylor Fund, Botswana Predator Conservation Trust, Cheetah Conservation Fund, Duke University, Ewaso Lions Project, Global Tiger Initiative, Great Plains Conservation, Nat Geo Wild, Oxford University’s WildCRU, TOMS, and Zambian Carnivore Programme, among others.