(This text is taken mainly from the National Geographic press release announcing the collaboration.)
(Washington, D.C.) – National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative (BCI) has formed an important collaboration with Panthera, the world’s leading organization devoted exclusively to the conservation of the world’s 37 wild cat species. Together, their aim is to further the global fight to save big cats in the wild.
Officials from the two organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding designating Panthera as a scientific and strategic collaborator on the BCI. The collaboration will facilitate the development and implementation of global conservation strategies for the most imperiled cats around the world, including tigers, lions, leopards and cheetahs. (Read “Politics Is Killing the Big Cats” by legendary biologist and Panthera Vice President George B. Schaller, from the December 2011 National Geographic Magazine.)
To help guide strategy, an advisory group composed of representatives from each organization has been established. The advisory group members are Panthera CEO Alan Rabinowitz, BCI Grants Committee Chair Thomas Lovejoy and National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert, who with National Geographic founded the Big Cats Initiative. As part of this effort, the BCI also will utilize the expertise of Panthera’s premier cat biologists, who will provide scientific and strategic advice on conservation projects supported by the BCI.
“Panthera’s relationship with the National Geographic Society’s Big Cats Initiative presents a great opportunity for us to collaborate on new projects that conserve the world’s big cats and their ecosystems and ensure their survival for years to come,” said Rabinowitz. “National Geographic serves as a unique and unmatched mechanism for media outreach, broadcasting conservation stories about wild cats around the globe.”
“Panthera represents the most comprehensive effort of its kind in wild cat conservation,” said Terry Garcia, National Geographic’s executive vice president for Mission Programs. “The big cats of the world need our help, and a scientific collaboration between the Big Cats Initiative and Panthera is a significant step forward in our efforts to save endangered cats species around the world.”
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