Location: New York, United States.
Founded: In 2006 by Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan.
Projects: Panthera focuses their conservation strategies on the world’s largest wild cats. Their various grant programmes support research and conservation activities such as genetic research, education and human health related to the wild cats.
ProgrammesCheetah: The cheetah is considered an important part of Iran’s natural and cultural heritage. Besides Africa, cheetahs used to roam the Middle East, Central Asia, Kazakhstan and India where they are no longer located. The population in Iran is tiny, critically endangered and on the verge of extinction as a result of poaching of the species, its prey and habitat loss.
Panthera created the conservation programme, Conservation of the Asiatic Cheetah together with Iran’s Department of the Environment, Wildlife Conservation Society and the United Nations Development Programme.
The aim is to protect the remaining cheetahs, their habitats and prey through research, collaring, enhancing and empowering law enforcement, while engaging and educating local communities.
Cougar: The California Cougar Project was created by Panthera in 2008 and initially started to gather information about cougars in California, identify threats to the populations and form strategies on how to tackle the challenges of habitat loss and public education.
Panthera studies cougar behaviour with partner Craighead Beringia South in areas populated by humans compared to protected areas through their Teton Cougar Project. This will help people understand conservation needs in both areas throughout the US down to South American countries.
Jaguar: Jaguars range freely from Mexico to Argentina and often move outside protected areas. Panthera started the Jaguar Corridor Initiative which identifies areas through which the jaguars move. The initiative works to manage prey species, help ranchers improve livestock husbandry, educate local communities and assist governments with the management of protected areas.
Jaguars in the Pantanal, a wetland larger than Bangladesh, in parts of Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia tend to clash with ranchers in these areas and are often killed. Panthera started the Pantanal Project which aims to create the largest, protected jaguar corridor while linking jaguar conservation with cattle management.
Lion: African Lions are facing a three-fold threat from persecution by herders and farmers, habitat loss and a decline in natural prey due to overhunting by humans. Panthera launched Project Leonardo which identifies areas of conflict between humans and lions from Senegal to South Africa. They then introduce tools and techniques to prevent these conflicts.
Panthera has partnered with Lion Guardians in Kenya to train local Maasai warriors to reduce conflict situations by informing herders of nearby lions, helping farmers to improve their cattle husbandry and tracking lost livestock. They also focus on discouraging other Maasai warriors from hunting lions as well. Lion Guardians will through the project receive literacy schooling and training in conservation research methodologies.
Leopard: Munyawana Leopard Project was established in and beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa to monitor populations and mortality rates. Little evidence was found of reproduction and surveys revealed that mortality rates were higher than previously recorded.
The leopard population was in decline due to hunting outside the reserve, so Panthera collaborated with the local wildlife authority, Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife to rewrite legislations. This ensured better regulation of trophy hunting and control of “problem” leopards.
Pantheras field staff has worked with local farmers and communities to reduce the loss of livestock and improve tolerance towards leopards through the promotion of alternative husbandry techniques.
The Munyawana Leopard Project has so far doubled the number of leopards in Phinda Private Game Reserve.
Tiger: Panthera partnered with Save the Tiger Fund (STF) in 2011 to build on their successful Tigers Forever programme, which employs science-based measurement and monitoring of tiger and prey populations, along with rigorous implementation of enforcement activities.
Tigers Forever was launched in 2006 with the Wildlife Conservation Society to increase tiger numbers by at least 50% over a 10-year period in Indonesia, Malaysia, Lao PDR, India and Myanmar.
How to help
You can help Panthera by donating, giving a gift to a loved one, making a bequest in your will, or purchasing merchandise from their shop.