Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase! Unfortunately, when it comes to big cats, being worried is valid. In fact, the reality is far worse than Lion King’s heartbreaking storyline. These felines are at risk of poaching, habitat loss, and other environmental factors. To raise awareness of just that, Catwalk, a worldwide event that honors the species will be held under the patronage of HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, the Kingdom’s ambassador to the US.
On November 6, participants can embark on a 7km walk to promote the preservation of seven cat species in particular: the leopard, the Arabian leopard (a subspecies of the leopard), the snow leopard, the jaguar, the puma, the tiger, the lion, and the cheetah. The walk has been organized by Princess Reema’s newly launched initiative Catmosphere, in collaboration with Panther – the only organization fully devoted to preserving the world’s 40 wild cat species.
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“Catmosphere is a catalyst for change,” explains HRH Princess Reema. “Its campaigns and activations are launched to build momentum globally around big cat conservation. I first understood the threat to the future of big cats when I learned about Panthera’s work in Saudi Arabia with The Royal Commission for AlUla, where they are researching the status of the Arabian leopard in the Kingdom, with a view to forging a path for its recovery in the region.”
The rules are simple. Anytime on November 6, join the virtual race from anywhere in the world. The event is open to everyone of all abilities. All one has to do is select a big cat of their choice, and they will be joined by others who have picked the same to form a Cat Crew. Seasoned marathon runners may join the team of Snow Leopards, known for heading on their long-distance adventures. Those who are not morning people, can join the crew of Tigers who are known to be active night owls, or perhaps, be a part of the Lions, the brave loud-mouths. Remember to choose wisely, as the team that covers the furthest distance will be crowned the winning cat.
The Catwalk is sponsored by the Royal Commission of AlUla (RCU) and aims to restore the critically endangered Arabian leopard population. Thankfully, the work has borne fruit, as a female cub was born earlier this year on April 23. The foundation’s work has a chance of changing the world, agrees Thomas Kaplan, the founder of Panthera. “It has the potential to be the most consequential cat conservation awareness campaign ever undertaken,” he says.
Register for Catwalk at Catmosphere.org