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