Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization, today announced that it has convened more than 60 of the most respected figures from the worlds of business, law enforcement, government, fashion, media, entertainment, tourism, the military, and the arts in its Conservation Council, a global advisory board.
In a commitment of service unprecedented in the conservation community for its diverse scope and potential impact on the preservation of the world's wild cats and their critical ecosystems, influential leaders in multiple fields, including Jeremy Irons, General David Petraeus, Sir Norman Rosenthal, and artist Maya Lin, have joined forces to save the world's most charismatic wildlife.
Glenn Close and Jane Alexander, renowned stars of stage and screen and committed conservationists, will chair the Conservation Council, which, with its collective reach and influence, creates a conservation juggernaut to be unleashed on saving the world's vanishing wild cats and their landscapes.
Ms. Close said, "For the millions of people around the globe who refuse to envision a future without wild cats and the wild places they need to thrive, we have Panthera. I am so proud to be a part of this wonderful organization that is standing squarely between big cats and the perilous threats they face-a global protective force that is turning the tide for our most iconic and vulnerable species. It's no wonder that Panthera has attracted so many leading figures to its cause; they know that you must be smart and fearless to confront and solve the world's most intractable challenges and Panthera is both."
Ms. Alexander added, "When we think of freedom, when we envision the great predators that roam the forests, the mountains and the savannahs, the tiger comes to mind, the lion, the jaguar and the leopard. It is thrilling to share our planet with them. And as top predators they keep it in balance.
But all wild cats today are threatened by human incursion, every single one of them, and some are on the brink of extinction. Panthera works to save them through keeping their habitats in tact, ending poaching, and ensuring healthy genetics for future generations. I am proud to be helping this remarkable organization. If there is a future for great cats it is in the hands of Panthera and its partners globally."
Members of the Conservation Council provide Panthera with actionable advice on a wide variety of topics fundamental to the growth and development of the organization, including strategy and operational planning, communications, and expansion of Panthera's network. The Council members' global reach into the worlds of public policy, media, and entertainment will serve to extend Panthera's message to new audiences and open up new avenues of support.
Dr. Thomas Kaplan, Chairman of Panthera's Board of Directors, said, "Panthera is extremely humbled and fortunate to have access to the wide-ranging and deep expertise of this august body of individuals. Though diverse in their vocations, geographies, and worldviews, they are united by their shared optimism that together we can change the course of cat conservation and realize the cascading benefits on all species that come from saving the "umbrella species" that the cats represent in their critical landscapes. We are extraordinarily grateful for their selfless commitment to Panthera's mission and know that our efforts to protect wild cats around the world will benefit greatly from their guidance and collective passion."
Among the Council's members are some of the most notable names in their respective fields, including singer Shania Twain and leading conservationists Kris Tompkins, former CEO of Patagonia, as well as Fashion Week founder Fern Mallis, author Wilbur Smith, ProPublica's Andrew Revkin, the BBC's Kate Silverton, and MSNBC political analyst Nicolle Wallace, to name a few.
Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, CEO of Panthera, said, "It's a testament to the universal allure of wild cats, and the urgency of their plight, that we are able to convene this extraordinary gathering of minds. Gratefully, we look forward to drawing upon their talents to increase our impact and advance our mission."
Hermès Artistic Director, Pierre-Alexis Dumas, said, "Panthera's commitment to rigorous science, and their unique understanding of man's complex relationship with big cats, promises hope for these iconic animals."
Appointees to the Conservation Council are voted on to the Council by Panthera's Board of Directors for their ability to provide valuable expertise and guidance that complements the skills of Panthera's boards and staff. Panthera is also guided by its Scientific Council, made up of some of the world's leading cat biologists, which advises the organization on science and policy matters.
Award-winning Singer and Songwriter and Panthera Global Leopard Ambassador, Shania Twain, said, "The image and spirit of the leopard is an inspiration to millions around the world, including myself. I feel privileged to give back to a creature that depends for its future on what we do now to save it... and I urge the wider world to join Panthera and me in this mission."
Panthera, founded in 2006, is devoted exclusively to preserving wild cats and their critical role in the world's ecosystems. Panthera's team of leading biologists, law enforcement experts, and wild cat advocates develop innovative strategies based on the best available science to protect cheetahs, jaguars, leopards, lions, pumas, snow leopards and tigers and their vast landscapes. In 36 countries around the world, Panthera works with a wide variety of stakeholders to reduce or eliminate the most pressing threats to wild cats - securing their future, and ours. Visit Panthera.org.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos