"Every human being has the responsibility of nurturing and protecting their environment and to hand it over unspoilt for future generations to enjoy"
Trek for Big Cats is both a fundraising campaign and a movement to create awareness around the plight of the world's endangered and iconic cats.
The expedition team of three avid conservationists will trek in very realistic custom-made cat mascots representing the lion, leopard and tiger, beginning the month-long expedition on 1 November 2018. We will undertake two iconic treks on two continents - to Everest Base Camp and to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
The expedition will create a fun but meaningful way of appealing to all members of the public, both children and adults, about the plight and daily struggle of the big cats which are all facing possible extinction in our lifetime.
The expedition will begin in Nepal, with the Everest Base Camp trek happening over 14 days. This trek to the base camp of Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world at 8848m, is a fitting challenge due to the area being home to large cat species such as the snow leopard.
The team then heads to Tanzania for a 7- day trek to attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro - the highest free-standing mountain in the world. This summit represents the iconic African lion and leopard.
The UK- based Born Free Foundation is a dynamic international animal welfare charity, working to conserve endangered species and keep wildlife in the wild.
Trek for Big Cats and the Born Free Foundation have collaborated on this campaign to ensure its success.
All funds raised will go directly to the Born Free Foundation to fund their big cat projects.
By creating global awareness about the plight of the big cats we will not only help to educate the public but we will also give them a Call to Action-empowering them to play an active role in protecting big cats for future generations.
Our Call to Action will involve talking about and providing information on a whole host of issues that these big cats face every day, such as but not limited to, the canned lion hunting industry and its commercial spin offs - breeding, petting, walking with lions and the bone trade; human wildlife conflict; illegal trophy hunting; poaching; live animal entertainment; habitat loss and disease.
We will unite more people to take a stand against government legislation- for instance legislation regarding trophy hunting and the imports and exports of trophies.
We will encourage people to join global marches and other similar public demonstrations and protests, and sign global petitions.
We will educate the public on ways to participate in responsible tourism instead of supporting unethical animal facilities that offer activities such as pay-to-pet, walking with big cats and tiger selfies.
Knowledge is a powerful tool and with the power of knowledge people can make conscious and responsible decisions and create solutions that will provide a better future for big cats.
Factors threatening the world’s big cats include habitat loss, human- animal conflict, traditional Chinese medicine, the exotic pet trade, “canned” hunting, commercial breeding farms, entertainment, disease and poaching.
Big cats keep ecosystems healthy and maintain the predator- prey numbers in balance. They are also very important attractions in eco-tourism, and generate income for wildlife conservation.
Our mascots represent three of the most iconic big cats, but in turn symbolize all of the world’s most endangered large cats. Almost all species of wild cats are dramatically declining in numbers due to human factors.
The critically endangered South China tiger is ‘functionally extinct' from illegal hunting, with the Malayan and Sumatran tigers on the brink of extinction. On a whole, there are less than 4000 tigers left in the wild. Lions have undergone a catastrophic decline of 43% in the last 21 years, having disappeared from 90% of their former range. There are around 60 Amur leopards remaining in the wild. Worldwide, leopards have vanished from 49% of their historic range in Africa and 84% in Eurasia
Images © Gareth James Legg & Tracey Bruton
Lion with lock image © Pippa Hankinson
The Born Free Foundation page image © Born Free Foundation