Give a gift and a future to big cats this festive season…
Successful wildlife conservation is about the mixing of many elements. The alchemy happens when you bring scientific expertise together with local collaboration, mix in education, understanding, political will, and a big pinch of passion. The glue that brings this all together is funding. Funding supports the experts, delivers the education programmes, pays for the anti-poaching and monitoring patrols to protect precious wildlife, and kick starts the campaigns and wider communication.
Each year WildCats Conservation Alliance supports a rich mix of conservation projects to protect wild tigers and Amur leopards across their ranges with funding of about £250,000. It sounds quite significant when you consider how far it goes and the impacts it has, but the amount pales into insignificance when you take account of what is spent on Black Friday, the now traditional shopping frenzy that follows Thanksgiving in November. In 2018, Americans spent an eye-watering $717.5 billion dollars ($1,007.24 or £790 per head) on Black Friday.
Many of us are part of this spending frenzy as the advertisers entice us at every turn by promises of huge discounts for products we rarely need. Working in conservation, getting your head around the scale of the spend on that single Black Friday doesn’t sit easily after a year in which the environment hit the news in so many ways including plastic waste, burning rainforests and the impacts of climate change. Imagine what just one minute of the global Black Friday spend could support in conservation terms!
A little goes a long way in conservation, especially in the areas where WildCats Conservation Alliance works to protect endangered tigers and Amur leopards. A typical wish-list to keep big cats and people safe in 2020, looks something like this:
- £25 will provide a safe metal box to keep a camera trap safe from harm
- £54 will buy enough food for one team patrolling the Sumatra rainforest for a week
- £100 will provide a medical kit for a field team in Nepal
- £175 will pay the salary for one ranger for one month on a camera trapping survey
- £200 will equip a team with a GPS to accurately record location data
- £280 will purchase one camera trap set for Russia
Just think of the amazing things we could achieve if more people thought of presents for big cats this Black Friday and through the festive shopping season. According to a report in The Telegraph, spending on Christmas Day in 2018 peaked at £1 billion and Bloomberg estimated that $26 billion will be spent on Saturday 22 December in the US alone and UK sales are expected to peak too with supermarket Sainsbury’s predicting £150 million in food sales on this single weekend.
When one of our colleagues asked her dad what he wanted for Christmas he said ‘I don’t want anything, just give something to your big cats, they need it more.’
Her dad was right about them needing it more; for the cost of a jumper and a few books, she could help cover the cost of camping equipment, tarpaulines, batteries and other field consumables for one week for teams that are working so hard in tough conditions.
But he was wrong about them being her big cats; they belong to no one and every one. They are an intrinsically important part of the rich biodiversity of our planet and without them the forests and landscapes that keep us all fed and watered, will be lost. They also happen to be some of the most amazing and abused mammals on earth. Big cats and their habitats are our collective responsibility and we owe it to our children and their children to protect them for generations to come.
Giving a gift to tigers and Amur leopards is the most precious of gifts; it’s a present and a future for these incredible species. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the spending frenzy this season supported big cats? You can give a donation instead of a present by choosing “Gift this donation” or just give to the big cats.
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Or take a look at other ways to support conservation