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Jouberts, NatGeo Launch Big Cats Initiative

Wildlife filmmakers, conservationists, and National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert appeared with Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today Show this morning to announce the Big Cats Initiative—a campaign to rally public support and bolster conservation efforts for lions, leopards, and other large feline species in the wild worldwide.

“The bad news,” said Dereck, is that “big cats are in serious decline. In fact, there is a state of emergency for big cats right now, which is why we started the Big Cats Initiative.”

“In 50 years,” said Beverly, “we’ve gone from 450,000 lions down to 20,000. That is drastic, so we have to take action.”

“All the ecosystems in the world rely on the superpredators,” said Dereck. “If we take out these big, iconic predators, ecosystems collapse, communities of people around the ecosystems collapse. This is a state of emergency: We will lose these cats by 2020” if current trends continue.

Learn more about the Big Cats Initiative (and find related animal profiles, photographs, and video), make a tax-deductible gift to support the initiative, or learn about the Jouberts’ new book, Eye of the Leopard.