I am turning 50 “soon” and I find myself reflecting on my life and what I have accomplished. And then I turn to the more important question of what I want to accomplish in my next 50 years. I have determined that I remain incredibly ambitious. One of the things that is really driving me is to make a difference in saving the African Big Cats from extinction – and we don’t have anywhere near 50 years to make this happen!
In my lifetime, the African Lion population is estimated to have fallen from 450,000 to about 20,000 or 30,000 today. The Leopard population from 700,000 to 50,000 and the Cheetah population from 75,000 to about 10,000. Mind-boggling, to say the least, and incredibly sad, but my intention is to make a difference and change this. The biggest reason behind the huge decline in numbers is the Big Cat/Human conflict – the burgeoning human population is encroaching on the Big Cats territory. Other significant causes are poaching and even legal hunting. At least with regard to the Big Cat/Human conflict many great organizations are working with on-the-ground grantees to make a difference – working with the local people to positively change their lives and the lives of the Big Cats.