High Fives Make Big Differences for Big Cats

Shivani Bhalla in the field with Samburu Warriors (Photo courtesy of National Geographic)

Earlier this year, National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative (BCI) asked big cat lovers around the world to High Five Give $5 Save Big Cats to help raise awareness and funds for big cat conservation. The goal was to create a virtual global high five chain for World Lion Day on August 10th, 2015.

Participants shared the virtual high five posts on Facebook and Twitter, and donated a minimum of $5 to the BCI. Participants were encouraged to share their own high-five video with the hashtag #5forBigCats. Celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Paul Stanley, and others donated, participated, and helped spur total donations well in excess of $200,000. The proceeds raised allowed BCI to scale up long-term field conservation projects on the ground in Kenya and Tanzania run by Shivani Bhalla and Amy Dickman.

Shivani Bhalla is the founder and executive director of Ewaso Lions. The primary focus of her work is to reduce human-lion conflict in Northern Kenya and promote coexistence via educational and community-based conservation programs. The BCI has become a key supporter in Ewaso Lion’s Warrior Watch program. This specific program engages the Samburu warriors to become community ambassadors for lion conservation in their region. Ewaso Lions is able to achieve this goal by building upon the traditional protection role of these warriors while encompassing human-carnivore conflict mitigation techniques. The Warrior Watch program has influenced local perceptions toward conservation, increased tolerance of large carnivores, and empowered the warriors.

Shivani Bhalla in the field with Samburu Warriors (Photo courtesy of Ewaso Lions)

The allocated funds from High Five. Give $5. Save Big Cats allowed the Warrior Watch program to greatly expand their numbers and reach. This funding will be used to train more warriors and secure long term sustainability for their field program. Ewaso Lions will —> Read More

Exxon Mobil Screwed Up Its Attack On Columbia For Climate Reports

Oil giant Exxon Mobil accused journalists from Columbia University of inaccurate reporting on its approach to climate change — and crisis management experts say the oil giant made a serious fumble when it suggested its financial partnerships with the school might be at stake because of it.

In a letter sent to Columbia President Lee Bollinger and university trustees, dated Nov. 20 and obtained by Politico on Monday, Exxon Mobil’s vice president for public and government affairs Kenneth Cohen accused journalists doing a fellowship with the university of ethics violations, including cherry-picking anecdotes and documents to show that the company deliberately misled the public on climate change risks.

The journalists’ findings were published in the Los Angeles Times in October and precipitated an investigation by the New York attorney general and calls by Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders for a Justice Department probe.

Exxon Mobil has the right to point out what it believes are editorial failures and to request the reporting be reviewed, crisis management expert Jonathan Bernstein told The Huffington Post, but Cohen took a serious misstep in his letter when he mentioned the oil company’s business ties to the school. The letter’s penultimate paragraph reads:

ExxonMobil has had numerous and productive relationships with Columbia University for many years, whether through research programs, interactions with the business school or recruiting of graduates for employment with our company. The interactions [between Exxon and the Columbia journalists] detailed above are not typical of the high standards and ethical behavior we have come to expect from your institution.

“I’ve counseled more clients than I can count that they should never try to tie their financial relationship with a publication to their request for change,” said Bernstein, who runs Bernstein Crisis Management —> Read More

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