An Asiatic leopard cub in the Hukawng Valley in Myanmar (Burma) became an orphan after hunters killed its mother to sell her body parts for use in traditional medicine. A Bengal tiger called Sita gives her cubs an early morning bath in India’s Bandhavgarh National Park.
Three of the eight tiger subspecies became extinct in the 20th century, hunted as trophies and also for body parts that are used in traditional Chinese medicine. See how National Geographic is supporting on-the-ground conservation projects to save big cats. The king of the African savannah is in serious trouble because of massive conversion of the continent’s remaining wilderness to human land-use, according to a detailed study. Intensely shy and hovering on the edge of extinction, Iranian cheetahs are essentially impossible to see. Thinking of snow leopards as domesticated—and thus dependent on people for food—may help save the dwindling species, one conservationist claims.
Beating Usain Bolt's best, Sarah the "polka-dotted missile" clocked the world's fastest recorded time for a 100-meter run. Laly Lichtenfeld aims to prevent lion-livestock conflict and to improve the lives of lions and people alike.


Once ranging across the African continent and into Syria, Israel, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran, and even northwest India, lions have declined to as few as 20,000 animals from about 450,000 just 50 years ago.Big Cats InitiativeNational Geographic is working to avert the extinction of lions, tigers, and other big cats with the Big Cats Initiative, a comprehensive program that supports innovative projects.
In 2010, the entire valley—about the size of Vermont—was designated by the government of Myanmar as a tiger sanctuary, a major conservation step that protects big cats and other rare species throughout the territory.Big Cats InitiativeNational Geographic is working to avert the extinction of lions, tigers, and other big cats with the Big Cats Initiative, a comprehensive program that supports innovative projects. Loss of habitat, prey decline, pesticides, and even canine distemper and tuberculosis have caused lion numbers to quickly decline across Africa.Big Cats InitiativeNational Geographic is working to avert the extinction of lions, tigers, and other big cats with the Big Cats Initiative, a comprehensive program that supports innovative projects.
Except for darker, elongated spots, king cheetahs are genetically identical to other cheetahs. African lions are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).Big Cats InitiativeNational Geographic is working to avert the extinction of lions, tigers, and other big cats with the Big Cats Initiative, a comprehensive program that supports innovative projects.
It is estimated that only 7,500 of these big cats remain, and those are under pressure as the wide-open grasslands they favor are disappearing at the hands of human settlers.Big Cats InitiativeNational Geographic is working to avert the extinction of lions, tigers, and other big cats with the Big Cats Initiative, a comprehensive program that supports innovative projects. Scientists connect the drastic decreases in lion numbers in many cases to burgeoning human populations.Big Cats InitiativeNational Geographic is working to avert the extinction of lions, tigers, and other big cats with the Big Cats Initiative, a comprehensive program that supports innovative projects.
Though the leopard is the most widespread of all big cats, many of their populations are endangered, especially those outside Africa.Big Cats InitiativeNational Geographic is working to avert the extinction of lions, tigers, and other big cats with the Big Cats Initiative, a comprehensive program that supports innovative projects. Conservationists estimate that unless the current decline is checked, the number of lions will continue to drop significantly.Big Cats InitiativeNational Geographic is working to avert the extinction of lions, tigers, and other big cats with the Big Cats Initiative, a comprehensive program that supports innovative projects.


Geographically isolated lion populations can lead to inbreeding and a lack of genetic diversity, further endangering the species.Big Cats InitiativeNational Geographic is working to avert the extinction of lions, tigers, and other big cats with the Big Cats Initiative, a comprehensive program that supports innovative projects.
The leopard is so strong and comfortable in trees that it often hauls its kills into the branches.Big Cats InitiativeNational Geographic is working to avert the extinction of lions, tigers, and other big cats with the Big Cats Initiative, a comprehensive program that supports innovative projects. All five remaining tiger subspecies are endangered.Big Cats InitiativeNational Geographic is working to avert the extinction of lions, tigers, and other big cats with the Big Cats Initiative, a comprehensive program that supports innovative projects. As human populations in sub-Saharan Africa expand, the amount of hunting space and habitats for lions decreases.Big Cats InitiativeNational Geographic is working to avert the extinction of lions, tigers, and other big cats with the Big Cats Initiative, a comprehensive program that supports innovative projects. The genetic homogeneity of cheetah populations may make them more vulnerable to disease.Big Cats InitiativeNational Geographic is working to avert the extinction of lions, tigers, and other big cats with the Big Cats Initiative, a comprehensive program that supports innovative projects. Lions are unique among big cats in forming groups.Big Cats InitiativeNational Geographic is working to avert the extinction of lions, tigers, and other big cats with the Big Cats Initiative, a comprehensive program that supports innovative projects. Over the last hundred years, hunting and forest destruction have reduced tiger populations from hundreds of thousands of animals to perhaps fewer than 4,000.Big Cats InitiativeNational Geographic is working to avert the extinction of lions, tigers, and other big cats with the Big Cats Initiative, a comprehensive program that supports innovative projects.



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