I just watched the premier of NatGeo’s newest production, “The Unlikely Leopard.” Beautiful photography, as you’d expect. All the more stunning for featuring a leopard, possibly nature’s most beautiful big cat.
The show basically follows a single leopard from shortly after birth to being an adult on his own. It does what it is intended to do — showcase the incredible beauty of leopards. And that’s part of the show’s broader purpose, to highlight the plight of big cats around the world. They are disappearing, and we are to blame.
According to National Geographic and wild cat conservation organization Panthera:
• Leopard numbers have dropped from 750,000 to as few as 50,000 over the past 50 years.
• Cheetahs have vanished from more than 75% of their natural habitat in Africa, including six countries they previously occupied.
• The fewer than 3,500 remaining wild tigers are now outnumbered by those living in captivity.
Co-producer Dereck Joubert says people who want to help can forgo fur clothing, donate to non-profit organizations, and spread awareness.
“At this rate, we’re going to see extinction of these fantastic jewels of the forest in the next 10 to 15 years,” says Joubert. “We’re gathering momentum, but we really do need an army of supporters or we will lose these cats.”
I love big cats. They are my favorite wild animal. Their beauty and grace is unmatched in the wild. And knowing they are on the verge of extinction because of us makes me crazy. Tigers are my personal favorite, and they are the most critically endangered. I can’t even imagine a world without these beautiful creatures.
“The Unlikely Leopard” drove the message home with this closing observation:
“We kill them because we love their incredible beauty — and we love ourselves more.”
- Sunday,Nat Geo WILD premieres “The Unlikely Leopard” by the Joubert’s (greatcatsoftheworld.wordpress.com)
- Big Cats Face Poachers, Safari Hunters, Coming Extinction – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)