Big Cat Conservation
ENSURING A FUTURE FOR BIG CATS
Big cats worldwide are under threat—for many populations, local extinctions are imminent
due to habitat loss, degradation, and conflicts with humans.
Lions have disappeared from 95% of their historic range in Africa and their populations have declined 43% in the 21 years between 1993-2014.
African cheetah populations have disappeared from more than 90% of their historic range with an 87% decline in “resident range” populations.
Since our work began in 2009, we have made significant impact.
Grants awarded for work
in 28 countries
Reduced threats for almost 3K big cats in the wild
Livestock enclosures built, reducing human-wildlife conflict with big cats
Life-threatening snares removed from big cat habitats
Photograph by Mike Myers
The Great Plains Foundation Big Cats Initiative
In 2009, the National Geographic Society, in partnership with National Geographic Explorers at Large and world renowned conservationists and filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert, founded the Big Cats Initiative (BCI) to halt the decline of big cats in the wild. BCI made a substantial impact in big cats conservation, awarding more than 150 grants for work in 28 countries, funding individuals’ on-the-ground research and innovative field-based conservation projects to safeguard big cats and their critical habitats. This impact continues under Dereck and Beverly’s leadership at the Great Plains Big Cats Initiative.
The Society remains committed to protecting big cats and has a renewed focus on supporting wildlife work—including the development of new grant opportunities—for Explorers who are on the frontlines of conservation. If you are interested in supporting Explorers who are working to save threatened wildlife, safeguard ecosystems, and educate and encourage people to co-exist more peacefully with local animal populations visit natgeo.org/give. Visit Great Plains Foundation to learn more about this program.
Protecting Big Cats
Our Explorers in the field are working to safeguard big cats.
Find out how they’re making a difference.
Beverly and Dereck Joubert
Award-winning filmmakers Beverly and Dereck Joubert aim to save the wild places and animals of Africa.
Tracking lions in Botswana
Andrew Stein and Florian Weise set up a lion tracking system in northern Botswana.
The Plight of Big Cats
Amy Dickman envisions how to empower local communities and alleviate poverty to ultimately save big cats.
A conservation biologist works to safeguard the future of Kenya’s rapidly declining lion population.
Developing a New Lion Alert System
This innovative approach to promoting human-wildlife coexistenceg protects lions and help communities thrive.
Living with Leopards in Namibia
Marlice and Rudie van Vuuren work to mitigate human-wildlife conflict and change perceptions to help big cats thrive.
A Place for Cheetahs in South Africa
"Cheetah matchmaker" Vincent van der Merwe and his team are strengthening the cheetah gene pool by preventing inbreeding.
Kenya's Warrior Watch
The Samburu Warriors are working with their local communities to protect livestock and promote coexistence between people and lions.
Zambia's Lion Protectors
Nat Geo Explorer Thandiwe Mweetwa and Fulbright Scholar Henry Mwape work with the Zambian Carnivore Program to ensure a future for big cats.
Coexisting with Lions in Botswana
Andrew Stein and his team share life through a lion’s eyes to strengthen connections between humans and big cats.
Lion Recovery in Gorongosa National Park
Conservationist Paola Bouley uses data collection and patrols to identify key threats to Gorongosa's lions.
With Support From
main photo by Lyle Gregg