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A lioness and her cub playing in a conservation managed by Nat Geo Big Cats Initiative

Nat Geo Big Cats Initiative: Big Cat Conservation For Wildlife

The Nat Geo Big Cats Initiative is up and running, and it's time we learn more about this amazing program! Learn more about how National Geographic seeks to protect big cats such as lions and tigers from all around the world. Support and involve yourself with these innovative big cat conservation projects now!

National Geographic To Protect The Wild

National Geographic has been on the front lines of big cat conservation for decades. Through their Big Cats Initiative, Nat Geo supports projects that protect these cats in the wild.

Everyone knows that to save big cats like lions, tigers, leopards, and cheetahs, we have to protect their habitats. That’s why a major focus of the Big Cats Initiative is combating habitat loss from human activity like deforestation or development. 

The program also supports research to understand big cat populations better. They’ve funded studies using camera traps to estimate wild cat densities in Thailand and GPS collars to track snow leopard movements in Mongolia.

Education and outreach are equally important. The program works with local communities to promote coexistence with big cats and find solutions that benefit both people and wildlife. 

The future remains uncertain, but there is hope with more people on the case. Big cats forever!

What Are Big Cats?

Cheetah and her cub lying on the open field

Big cats are some of the planet's most majestic yet vulnerable animals. As top predators, big cats help maintain the balance of ecosystems, but their numbers have declined dramatically over the last century due to poaching, habitat loss, and human-wildlife conflict.

  • Lions, the only truly social cats, live in a pride. A pride typically consists of related females, their cubs, and a coalition of 2-3 males. Sadly, lion populations are projected to decline by half their current population in the next two decades.
  • Tigers are solitary and elusive. There were once nine subspecies, but three have gone extinct in the last 80 years. Fewer than 4,000 tigers remain in the wild.
  • Leopards are excellent swimmers and climbers and feed on a variety of prey, from insects to antelope. However, populations such as those of the Amur are declining due to habitat loss and conflict with humans.
  • Jaguars, the largest cats in the Americas, were once found from the southern US to Argentina. Today, they are mainly confined to Central and South America, with loss of habitat threatening their long-term survival.
  • Cheetahs, the fastest land animals, can reach speeds of up to 75 mph in short bursts. However, with only about 7,000 left, cheetahs are considered vulnerable to extinction.
  • Cougars, also known as mountain lions or pumas, are solitary and elusive, found from Canada to South America. Although cougar populations appear stable, they face threats from habitat fragmentation and conflict with humans.

By supporting organizations like the National Geographic Big Cats Initiative, you can help ensure these magnificent creatures continue roaming the wild for generations. The future of big cats is in our hands. What will we choose?

Why Should We Care?

Big cats around the world need our help. As human populations grow and expand into wild habitats, big cats are losing their homes and access to prey. Some species have lost over 90% of their historic range. Why should we care about these apex predators?

Keystone species

As top predators, big cats help maintain the balance of ecosystems by controlling prey populations. Without big cats, deer and other herbivore numbers can explode, damaging plant communities and landscapes.

This disruption has a ripple effect across the entire food web. Protecting big cats means protecting the health of ecosystems we all depend on.

Cultural significance

Big cats have captivated the human imagination for centuries, appearing in art, mythology, and folklore across cultures. The loss of these iconic animals would be a tragedy.

Majestic creatures like lions and jaguars have come to symbolize qualities like power, courage, and beauty. Their presence in the wild sparks wonder and connects us to the power and mystery of nature.

Support The Nat Geo Big Cats Initiative

Snow leopard walking across a snowy mountain

The Big Cats Initiative is working to protect big cats in the wild. As a supporter, you can help ensure the long-term survival of these creatures. Here are a few ways you can support this important cause:


Your financial contribution will directly fund critical conservation efforts like reducing human-wildlife conflict, monitoring big cat populations, and protecting habitat. Donate on the National Geographic Society website or consider becoming a monthly donor to provide sustainable support.

Raise Awareness

Educate others about the threats facing big cats, like poaching, loss of prey, and habitat destruction. Wear rescue shirts and make a statement. Grassroots efforts can inspire people to take action and motivate political will for increased protection.

Travel Responsibly

If you want to see big cats in the wild, do your research to find reputable tour operators that follow best practices for responsible wildlife tourism. Make sure any animal rescue vacation you take does not disrupt the natural behaviors of animals.

Contact Representatives

Use your voice to advocate for political policies and legislation that protect big cats. Write letters, sign petitions, and contact political representatives to encourage their support of conservation initiatives. Collective action can influence policy changes that have a large-scale impact.


Who is Beverly Joubert?

She is a wildlife filmmaker noted for her part in the conservation of big cats.

How does Nat Geo make money?

The initiative draws money from grants and donations.

Who owns national geographic expeditions?

It is managed by the National Geographic Society.

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