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Show Your Lion Pride on World Lion Day

Cause an Uproar with the Big Cats Initiative and celebrate World Lion Day on August 10. Images of lions are everywhere. From the iconic statues on the steps of the New York Public Library, to your favorite team mascot, to movies and Broadway musicals, lions are cultural icons. The list of lions in public spaces,…

B is for Boma, K is for Kraal

I’m just south of the Zambezi river, in the Caprivi, the long eastern panhandle of Namibia that stretches from the Okavango River to Victoria falls. Angola and Zambia are only 40 miles away to the north, Botswana 10 to the south, and Zimbabwe less than 150 to the east. It’s certainly Africa’s most geographically complicated…

Rare New Images of a Wild Snow Leopard on a Kill in Nepal

Witness this remarkable sighting of a rare snow leopard or ‘Mountain Ghost’ in the highlands of Nepal.

Living Walls Turn Maasai Hunters into Lion Defenders (Video)

In a land where the lion truly is king, attitudes about traditional lion hunts are changing. Two Maasai people – one lion slayer and one lion savior – share the stories of their respective journeys. Species are disappearing at a rate that has scientists around the world calling this period the sixth mass extinction. Today,…

Private Reserves Support National Parks in Big Cat Conservation

National parks offer large core habitat that is critical for conserving large cats, but national parks alone are not sufficient to sustain a connected and genetically healthy population. Smaller adjacent private reserves improve connectivity and increase habitat extent in areas outside these parks. Sustainable, low-impact ecotourism often incorporates private nature reserves, which can serve to…

Climate Change Joins Lions and Livestock in an Unlikely Partnership

In the coming years, climate change will transform the world in ways that we have not predicted. The king of the big cats has already survived two major periods of change, but with humans quickly taking over valuable grassland habitat, will they be able to survive another? On the Maasai Steppe of Tanzania, lions have…

A Ranger’s Worst and Best Sighting Ever: Amazing Fight Between Lion and Wild Dog

This was an emotional moment for game ranger Jaques-Pierre Joubert, who captured a remarkable set of photos along with colleague Roan Ravenhill in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, South Africa. “As guides we are often asked about our best sighting ever,” says JP. “This was comprehensively the best and worst sighting of my guiding career.” JP…

Lair of the Leopard: To Cache Kills, Leopards Prefer Caves Over Trees

A nameless cave from which a whirlwind blows, Pliny the Elder referred to it in his work Naturalis Historia. Vjetrenica, it would later be called. Icy breaths exhale from the mouth of Vjetrenica, the largest cave in what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina. The scent of long-closed rooms…of dank underground caverns…of something alive, or once…

Hundreds of Cases of Conflict Between Farmers and Predators Defused in Namibia

In May 2014, a leopard trapped on a commercial livestock ranch in central Namibia became N/a’an ku sê’s 500th big predator conflict case. The vast majority of these animals (over 400) have been released immediately to keep contributing to the wild gene pool. In other situations, rehabilitation of an orphaned or conflict predator may be required. Lethal control is only necessary under rare circumstances and, although individual predators can cause significant economic damage, most landowners seek alternative solutions. National Geographic Big Cats Initiative Grantee Florian J Weise reports.

Iberian Lynx in Crisis: Virus Outbreak Threatens the World’s Most Endangered Cat

Hidden in the marshes and mountains of southwestern Europe’s Iberian Peninsula, the last Iberian lynx may be quietly padding into history. The lynx’s future depends on whether its sole prey, the European rabbit, can survive an outbreak of a disease known as rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV). A new variant of RHDV has arrived with…

Tajikistan Brings Endangered Wild Goat From the Edge of Extinction to the Peak of Hope

The markhor is an endangered wild goat occurring in southern Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, and India. It is categorized as endangered on the IUCN Red List and listed under Appendix I of CITES. But in Tajikistan, people have come together to protect this wild goat with towering horns to the benefit of the one…

Orphaned Cougar Kittens and Their Inspiring Will to Survive—An Update

It was May 1, 2014, and we had spent a frustrating five hours climbing mountains, crossing rivers, and straddling log jams in pursuit of F51’s orphaned cougar kittens. We never glimpsed them, but their movements clearly relayed that they were alive and mobile. It had been 31 days since their mother had died, during which…

Changing Attitudes of Maasai Steppe Pastoralists Offer Hope to Lions

For the Maasai, the lion hunt is a celebration of bravery reflecting their reverence and respect for the big cat as a primary foe. However, their relationship with the lion has become increasingly turbulent as the pastoralists confront an ever more populated landscape where conflicts between people and wildlife are on the rise. Warriors often put down their spears, replacing them with poison and guns. With lion populations plummeting across many parts of the continent, one spot on Tanzania’s Maasai Steppe shows refreshing signs of a recovering lion population and a Maasai community in a locally-motivated transition. Deirdre Leowinata reports.

Philanthropists Pledge $80 Million for Wild Cat Conservation

Environmental philanthropists from China, India, the United Arab Emirates and the United States have together committed U.S. $80 million over ten years to help fund conservation of all 38 species of wild cats.

The Silent Roar on the Roof of the World: Saving Snow Leopards

The eastern Pamir plateau in Tajikistan, called the Bam-e Dunya (Roof of the World) at 13,000 feet and higher, is an unforgiving place, especially in winter. And yet, despite temperature plummeting to -50 Fahrenheit in the winter, people, mostly Kyrgyz herders, eke out a living in this harsh environment, tending to their yaks, sheep and…