by Gary E. Knell, National Geographic Society President and CEO
Today is World Lion Day. And Saturday is World Elephant Day. Sadly, most people go about their business unaware that some of the most iconic species on our planet are in serious peril. It’s not until a well-known lion like Cecil, or most recently his son Xanda, is killed that the world takes notice. But even last month’s news of Xanda’s passing hardly registered given the global headlines dominating news coverage.
At National Geographic, rather than focus our efforts on a single day, we make every day about illuminating the need to reverse the troubling trends negatively affecting lions, elephants, rhinos and other species in danger. Whether it’s through creating compelling content or providing support to researchers in the field, we push the boundaries of exploration to further our understanding of our planet and empower us all to generate solutions for a healthier and more sustainable future for all living things.
One of our primary vehicles for change is investing in amazing on-the-ground innovators. We give grants to protect the world’s remaining lion populations through the National Geographic Society’s Big Cats Initiative (BCI). Founded in 2009 with Dereck and Beverly Joubert — filmmakers, conservationists and Explorers-in-Residence — BCI is a long-term endeavor to halt the decline of big cats in the wild. The initiative supports efforts to save big cats through assessment, on-the-ground conservation, education and global public awareness campaigns.
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National Geographic Society supports scientists who are working with local communities and finding tangible solutions to help save big cats. You can help these people save lions by donating to National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative.