Unleash Your Inner Big Cat Fan

It might not seem like it to human eyes, but the look that lioness is giving her mate is about the pinnacle of  romance for these wild felines. (Photo by Michael Nichols/NG Creative)

As you can tell from seeing any stroller with a kid in a lion’s-mane hooded sweater, kids (and parents) like big cats.

As you can tell from seeing any motorcycle with a rider in an embroidered-tiger leather jacket, this enthusiasm can take many forms.

That means somewhere inside, from the time you were 8 years old to this very day, you probably have had a favorite of your own, too. (For me it’s the cheetah. I’m a runner. What can I say?)

It’s time to feed that inner big cat fan. You can do it in our upcoming Google+ Hangout for Big Cat Week.


Full-Time Big Cat Champions 

National Geographic Big Cats Initiative grantees Shivani Bhalla and Krithi Karanth have dedicated their lives to understanding and protecting big cats in the wild. Working with local communities in Africa and India, these indomitable women are helping to erase misconceptions, repair relationships, and construct a positive path to the future for people, livestock, and big cats.

Shivani Bhalla teaches young warriors to track collared lions using a handheld antenna. (Photo courtesy Ewaso Lions)
Shivani Bhalla teaches young warriors to track collared lions using a handheld antenna. (Photo courtesy Ewaso Lions)

Boone Smith comes from a long line of wildlife trackers, and now uses his abilities to follow the trail and get into the heads of big cats and other predators and prey around the world. As host of wildlife specials on Nat Geo Wild, he’s able to share that passion with more people than ever before.

Krithi Karanth (Photo by Sandesh Kadur)
Krithi Karanth (Photo by Sandesh Kadur)

On December 3 at 1pm ET, join Shivani, Krithi, Boone, and others in a live video chat via Google+ Hangouts. It’s part of Big Cat Week on Nat Geo Wild, our annual festival of feline film, which returns this year on Friday, November 28. It’s your chance to rediscover your passion for these captivating carnivores and learn more about them than you have in years.

National Geographic Big Cats Initiative Program Manager, Luke Dollar, will also be on hand hosting the conversation, adding information, and asking your questions to the big cat masters in the Hangout. Wildlife research and conservation are subjects about which he’s both passionate and proud. “In five short years,” Luke says, “the BCI has become one of the most quantifiably productive, effective, and cost-effective conservation endeavors.”

(Photo by Michael Nichols/NG Creative)
A Bengal tiger takes a break and a drink in a natural pool in India. (Photo by Michael Nichols/NG Creative)

So what do you want to know about the lives of these amazing creatures? Do you wonder which conservation plans are working, or what’s causing the big declines in big cat populations? Or maybe you just can’t figure out why only lions hunt in prides. Well wonder no longer. Ask your questions. Hear the answers. Tell your friends.

Unleash your inner big cat fan and look in the mirror. That’s the eye of the tiger, baby.

Or maybe the leopard. Your call.

(Photo by Michael Nichols/NG Creative)
Blurred grasses in the foreground heighten the effect of setting sunlight on the king of beasts in his prime. (Photo by Michael Nichols/NG Creative)

How to Participate in the Hangout

You can help us Cause an Uproar  and answer your burning questions about big cats and their world by taking part in our Google+ Hangout. Send in your questions for these National Geographic Explorers and they may be asked on air. Submit your questions by posting a question on Google+ or Twitter with hashtag #bigcats or commenting directly on this blog post.

Follow National Geographic on Google+ or return to this blog post to watch the Google+ Hangout Wednesday, December 3rd at 1 p.m. EST (6 p.m. UTC).


Learn More

National Geographic Big Cats Initiative

Find Out Which Big Cat You Are

Donate, Spread the Word


Changing Planet


Meet the Author
Andrew Howley is a longtime contributor to the National Geographic blog, with a particular focus on archaeology and paleoanthropology generally, and ancient rock art in particular. In 2018 he became Communications Director at Adventure Scientists, founded by Nat Geo Explorer Gregg Treinish. Over 11 years at the National Geographic Society, Andrew worked in various ways to share the stories of NG explorers and grantees online. He also produced the Home Page of nationalgeographic.com for several years, and helped manage the Society's Facebook page during its breakout year of 2010. He studied Anthropology with a focus on Archaeology from the College of William & Mary in Virginia. He has covered expeditions with NG Explorers-in-Residence Mike Fay, Enric Sala, and Lee Berger. His personal interests include painting, running, and reading about history. You can follow him on Twitter @anderhowl and on Instagram @andrewjhowley.