By Colby Bishop
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, artwork and the media is endless, all tributes to the magnificent and fearless “King of the Jungle.”
But did you know there are more lion statues and images than actual wild lions roaming across Africa? In the last 50 or so years we’ve seen the lion population decline nearly 95%. These amazing creatures are victims of habitat loss and degradation as well as human conflict. Without immediate action, we may one day live in a world where the only lions we know are statues and mascots.
In response to the critical situation facing lions and other big cats in the wild, National Geographic teamed up with Explorers-in-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert to launch the Big Cats Initiative (BCI), a comprehensive program that supports on-the-ground conservation and education projects in conjunction with Cause an Uproar, a global public-awareness campaign. To date, BCI has given more than $1.75 million toward big cat conservation projects that are making a difference on the ground.
In celebration of World Lion Day on August 10, National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative invites you to cause an uproar! Here are some ways to get involved and help save lions and other big cats:
• Join a Twitter chat on August 6 at 12:00 p.m. EST with Big Cats Initiative Co-Founders and National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert. Be sure to follow @dereckbeverly and @NatGeoLive and use #NatGeoLive to ask questions.
• Help build boma fences. Boma fences are fortified enclosures that protect livestock from lions. These in turn help protect lions and other big cats from retaliatory killings when livestock are killed. You can help build boma fences by starting a campaign or making a direct donation by visiting buildaboma.org.
• Text “LIONS” to 50555 to donate $10 to on-the-ground conservation through the Big Cats Initiative. Message and data rates apply. Terms and conditions: mgv.cc/t.
• Explore other ways you can take action and help spread the word: http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/big-cats-initiative/get-involved/.
And to say thanks for your support from our big cat friends, please enjoy this lion photo gallery and download any of the images as wallpaper: http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/wallpaper/animals/photos/big-cats/big-cat-lion/.
Get involved with causeanuproar.org to learn more about big cats and share your love of lions!