Great Plains Conservation
The founding partners of Great Plains Dereck & Beverly Joubert, Mark Read, and Paul Harris have come together with one main goal – to create iconic, role model, sustainable conservation projects. These passionate conservationists in their 50's pooled their wide ranging skills and experience to create innovative, world-class conservation projects in a number of diverse and threatened habitats throughout Africa, the Indian Ocean and eventually in India. The world's citizens must make a choice - "where to from here?". We believe there can only be one goal - saving some of the last great, iconic, and wild places of the world. This is the mission: to find the right formula between conservation, communities and commerce. Great Plains Conservation's model takes stressed and threatened environments, surrounds them with compassionate protection and intelligent management. National Geographic Society have recognised the common ethos between their own work throughout the world and that of Great Plains Conservation and have become an investor into Great Plains, with the Joubert's launching the National Geographic Big Cat Initiative.
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From lions in Kenya to snow leopards in the Himalaya, the big cats of the world need help. Lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, jaguars, and other top felines are quickly disappearing, all victims of habitat loss and degradation as well as conflicts with humans.
To address this critical situation, the National Geographic Society and Explorers-in-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert, have launched the Big Cats Initiative, a comprehensive program that supports on-the-ground conservation projects, education, and economic incentive efforts and a global public-awareness campaign. “We no longer have the luxury of time when it comes to big cats,” says Dereck Joubert. “They are in such a downward spiral that if we hesitate now, we will be responsible for extinctions across the globe. If there was ever a time to take action, it is now.” You can help us make a difference. Your donation can help save a big cat and ensure the Earth is not without these majestic creatures.
After 20 years of sole operation under Richard Bonham’s guidance, Maasailand Preservation Trust is proud to announce its merger with Big Life Foundation. Co-founded by conservationist Richard Bonham & photographer Nick Brandt in October 2010, Big Life’s conservation philosophy is so similar, and goals so identical, that it became obvious to both organizations that the two should merge operations and continue forward under one identity.
Richard lives mere kilometers from ol Donyo Lodge on Mbirikani Ranch, where many of his innovative conservation schemes were first put into practice with MPT. Big Life now uses many of these very strategies in a community collaborative approach to address the region’s greatest wildilfe threats, reduce the loss of wildlife to poaching, defeat the ivory trade, mitigate human-wildlife conflict, protect the great predators, and manage scarce and fragile natural resources. It recognizes that for the Maasai residents of Mbirikani Group Ranch and the Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem as a whole, the cost of living with wildlife exceeds the benefits and that dichotomy needs to shift.
Big Life has now expanded to employ 250 rangers, with 21 outposts and 14 vehicles protecting 2 million acres of wilderness in the Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem of East Africa. It is the only organization in East Africa with coordinated cross-border anti-poaching operations. As of September 2012, Big Life’s rangers have made 627 arrests and confiscated 1630 weapons/poaching tools since November 2010.
For those familiar with Big Life already, you will see that its mandate has now expanded in terms of the community support, all aimed at nurturing the critically important relationship between the local Maasai communities and their wildlife. Big Life’s vision, which Great Plains is proud to support, is to take the successful holistic conservation model in the Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem and replicate it across the African continent.