Visionary Philanthropist Madame He Qiaonyu Pledges
US$20 Million For Wild Cat Conservation as the Newest Member of Panthera’s Global Alliance
October 13, 2017
Monaco – In a move indicative of China’s growing influence as a leader in environmental protection, visionary philanthropist and entrepreneur Madame He Qiaonyu, through her Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation, has joined forces with Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization, and WildCRU, Oxford University’s conservation research unit, to protect big cats and their vast landscapes within China and beyond. It is the first international partnership for the Foundation, which envisions establishing the largest collaboration for biodiversity conservation in the world.
Starting with the apex carnivores, Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation will invest
$20 million over the next 10 years to fund conservation programs devoted to the protection of big cats both inside China and around the world, focusing on 10 “at-risk” areas to be determined by Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation with Panthera and WildCRU.
The partnership will be announced tomorrow in Monaco in conjunction with a meeting of IUCN’s Patrons of Nature, of which Madame He is a member.
Madame He is Founder and Chairman of Beijing Oriental Landscape and Ecology Co. Ltd., the largest landscape architecture company in China. Since establishing Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation in 2012, Madame He has become a force in Chinese philanthropy, investing in such areas as female entrepreneurship, ecological education, and climate change, and is setting the standard in China for emerging philanthropists.
In 2017, Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation introduced an ambitious vision for nature conservation, unveiling an accelerated seven-year plan to protect 28 critical habitat areas within China and conserve dozens of flagship animal and plant species. The Foundation plans to leverage its investments through high-profile partnerships within China and beyond, adopting and applying best practices to achieve its objectives and developing models for conservation worldwide.
Madame He stated, “I feel fortunate to have met Thomas and to be working with Panthera. This partnership enables us at Qiaonyu Foundation to utilize the most professional and experienced team in cat conservation as we begin to protect and preserve these beautiful but fragile species. It is an extraordinary undertaking, and to achieve the ambitious outcomes we seek, we are going to mobilize all the passion and intelligence we utilized when starting our businesses.”
She continued, “I would also add that there are a large number of entrepreneurs in China who are actively paying attention to environmental issues. They would love to share their wealth, knowledge, and vision to search for more and effective solutions for conserving nature. Qiaonyu Foundation is calling on potential partners in China and indeed across the globe to unite together to protect our only homeland and promise a better future for this planet!”
As the newest member of Panthera’s Global Alliance for Wild Cats, Madame He joins Thomas S. Kaplan and Daphne Recanati Kaplan, His Highness Mohamed Bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Hemendra Kothari—among the world’s leading environmental philanthropists—in an international collaboration to preserve large-scale wildlife habitat and biodiversity around the globe by protecting the big cats.
Panthera Founder and Chairman of the Board Thomas Kaplan stated, “Madame He’s vision for species conservation is big and bold, befitting China’s enormous potential to change the trajectory for threatened big cats at home and around the world. Madame He is herself a force of nature, and I have no doubt that she will galvanize a new homegrown movement to join her in sustaining our planet’s most precious and vulnerable wildlife.”
Dr. Kaplan continued, “We are humbled to be among the first partners aligned with Madame He and the Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation in this game-changing moment and look forward to working together under the auspices of the Global Alliance to realize our shared conservation goals.”
Phase One Will Focus on China’s Snow Leopards and African Lions
With a grant from the Recanati-Kaplan Foundation, in conjunction with Panthera and WildCRU, the Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation will invest
US$1 million to build out their comprehensive snow leopard conservation program in China, now in the early stages of development. The program will focus on two pilot sites to be determined, with the goal of expanding over time into the larger geographical range critical for the species’ survival.
Addressing one of the most pressing cat conservation crises globally, Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation will also contribute US$1 million to lion conservation in Africa with a focus on the geographies and populations most at risk. Due primarily to bushmeat poaching and conflict with humans, lion populations have plunged by more than 40% in the past two decades. Today, just 20,000 lions remain, occupying only 8% of their historical range. However, research shows that lions can thrive in large, well-protected landscapes with secure buffer zones, providing hope for the future.
And, in a third component of the partnership, Panthera, WildCRU and Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation will design and implement a joint wildlife management training program for Chinese conservationists working in the newly formed conservation areas in China. The training courses will be tailored for application both in the classroom and in the field.
Dr. Frédéric Launay, who will assume the CEO role at Panthera on November 1, stated, “Panthera is immensely pleased and proud to have the opportunity to work with Madame He and the Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation as partners in large-scale conservation. We see enormous opportunity to share knowledge, as well as to break new ground in creating a world in which humans and wild cats can thrive together.”
The Global Alliance for Wild Cats
The Global Alliance for Wild Cats was formed in 2014 to convene the world’s most visionary conservation thinkers across borders and cultures in a shared commitment to protecting big cats and their ecosystems. The Global Alliance invests in deploying at scale the most effective solutions for mitigating their primary threats: poaching for the illegal wildlife trade, human-cat conflict, loss of prey species, and the loss and fragmentation of habitat.
Her Excellency Razan Khalifa al Mubarak, Managing Director of the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund and Secretary-General of the Environment Agency–Abu Dhabi, said, “On behalf of His Highness Mohamed bin Zayed, we welcome Madame He to the Global Alliance. How fortunate we are to have such a bright light as Madame He focused on the big cats. Only with such grand vision can we hope to achieve conservation on the scale needed to save them.”
“We are looking forward to working alongside Madame He and the Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation,” said Hemendra Kothari, Founder and Chairman of India’s Wildlife Conservation Trust. “This is truly an extraordinary example of international cooperation. Together, we can hope to recover tigers, snow leopards, lions, and all of the iconic cats upon which the delicate balance of nature depends, particularly forest and water protection and climate change mitigation.”
A New Wave of Chinese Philanthropy
Madame He is pioneering a burgeoning philanthropic movement in China, providing inspiration to a new generation of philanthropists across a broad spectrum of interests, including many focused outside of China for the first time.
She is a founder with Bill Gates, Ray Dalio, Niu Gensheng, and Ye Qingjun of the Chinese Global Philanthropy Institute, an organization dedicated to cultivating the development of philanthropy in China and around the world.
Panthera, founded in 2006, is devoted exclusively to preserving wild cats and their critical role in the world’s ecosystems. Panthera’s team of leading biologists, law enforcement experts and wild cat advocates develop innovative strategies based on the best available science to protect cheetahs, jaguars, leopards, lions, pumas, snow leopards, and tigers and their vast landscapes. In 36 countries around the world, Panthera works with a wide variety of stakeholders to reduce or eliminate the most pressing threats to wild cats—securing their future, and ours. Visit panthera.org.
About Beijing Qiaonyu Foundation
The mission of BQF is simple and straightforward: to protect the earth and nature, and conserve biodiversity. We aspire to become one of the most influential Nature Conservation Agencies in the world.
David Macdonald founded the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) in 1986 at the University of Oxford. Now the foremost University-based centre for biodiversity conservation, the mission of the WildCRU is to achieve practical solutions to conservation problems through original research. WildCRU is particularly renowned for its work with wild carnivores, especially wild cats, including its long-running studies on lion and clouded leopard. Its training centre for early-career conservationists, so far from 32 countries, produces experts and future leaders in global conservation. Visit wildcru.org.
Renowned Actresses and Conservationists Glenn Close and Jane Alexander to Chair Panthera’s Conservation Council Comprised of Leaders from the Arts, Business, Politics, Media, and Military
August 23, 2017
New York, NY – Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization, today announced that it has convened more than 60 of the most respected figures from the worlds of business, law enforcement, government, fashion, media, entertainment, tourism, the military, and the arts in its Conservation Council, a global advisory board.
In a commitment of service unprecedented in the conservation community for its diverse scope and potential impact on the preservation of the world’s wild cats and their critical ecosystems, influential leaders in multiple fields, including Jeremy Irons, General David Petraeus, Sir Norman Rosenthal, and artist Maya Lin, have joined forces to save the world’s most charismatic wildlife.
Glenn Close and Jane Alexander, renowned stars of stage and screen and committed conservationists, will chair the Conservation Council, which, with its collective reach and influence, creates a conservation juggernaut to be unleashed on saving the world’s vanishing wild cats and their landscapes.
Ms. Close said, “For the millions of people around the globe who refuse to envision a future without wild cats and the wild places they need to thrive, we have Panthera. I am so proud to be a part of this wonderful organization that is standing squarely between big cats and the perilous threats they face—a global protective force that is turning the tide for our most iconic and vulnerable species. It's no wonder that Panthera has attracted so many leading figures to its cause; they know that you must be smart and fearless to confront and solve the world’s most intractable challenges and Panthera is both.”
Ms. Alexander added, “When we think of freedom, when we envision the great predators that roam the forests, the mountains and the savannahs, the tiger comes to mind, the lion, the jaguar and the leopard. It is thrilling to share our planet with them. And as top predators they keep it in balance.
But all wild cats today are threatened by human incursion, every single one of them, and some are on the brink of extinction. Panthera works to save them through keeping their habitats intact, ending poaching, and ensuring healthy genetics for future generations. I am proud to be helping this remarkable organization. If there is a future for great cats it is in the hands of Panthera and its partners globally.”
Members of the Conservation Council provide Panthera with actionable advice on a wide variety of topics fundamental to the growth and development of the organization, including strategy and operational planning, communications, and expansion of Panthera’s network. The Council members’ global reach into the worlds of public policy, media, and entertainment will serve to extend Panthera’s message to new audiences and open up new avenues of support.
Dr. Thomas Kaplan, Chairman of Panthera’s Board of Directors, said, “Panthera is extremely humbled and fortunate to have access to the wide-ranging and deep expertise of this august body of individuals. Though diverse in their vocations, geographies, and worldviews, they are united by their shared optimism that together we can change the course of cat conservation and realize the cascading benefits on all species that come from saving the “umbrella species” that the cats represent in their critical landscapes. We are extraordinarily grateful for their selfless commitment to Panthera’s mission and know that our efforts to protect wild cats around the world will benefit greatly from their guidance and collective passion.”
Among the Council’s members are some of the most notable names in their respective fields, including singer Shania Twain and leading conservationists Kris Tompkins, former CEO of Patagonia, as well as Fashion Week founder Fern Mallis, author Wilbur Smith, ProPublica’s Andrew Revkin, the BBC’s Kate Silverton, and MSNBC political analyst Nicolle Wallace, to name a few.
Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, CEO of Panthera, said, “It’s a testament to the universal allure of wild cats, and the urgency of their plight, that we are able to convene this extraordinary gathering of minds. Gratefully, we look forward to drawing upon their talents to increase our impact and advance our mission.”
Hermès Artistic Director, Pierre-Alexis Dumas, said, “Panthera’s commitment to rigorous science, and their unique understanding of man’s complex relationship with big cats, promises hope for these iconic animals.”
Appointees to the Conservation Council are voted on to the Council by Panthera’s Board of Directors for their ability to provide valuable expertise and guidance that complements the skills of Panthera’s boards and staff. Panthera is also guided by its Scientific Council, made up of some of the world’s leading cat biologists, which advises the organization on science and policy matters.
Award-winning Singer and Songwriter and Panthera Global Leopard Ambassador, Shania Twain, said, "The image and spirit of the leopard is an inspiration to millions around the world, including myself. I feel privileged to give back to a creature that depends for its future on what we do now to save it… and I urge the wider world to join Panthera and me in this mission."
Panthera, founded in 2006, is devoted exclusively to preserving wild cats and their critical role in the world’s ecosystems. Panthera’s team of leading biologists, law enforcement experts, and wild cat advocates develop innovative strategies based on the best available science to protect cheetahs, jaguars, leopards, lions, pumas, snow leopards and tigers and their vast landscapes. In 36 countries around the world, Panthera works with a wide variety of stakeholders to reduce or eliminate the most pressing threats to wild cats - securing their future, and ours. Visit Panthera.org.
Conservation Council Members:
March 23, 2016 LAS VEGAS, NV—According to the Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino ticketing office, Dirk Arthur’s Wild Magicshow - the last Las Vegas act featuring exotic animals - has been canceled. Animal Defenders International (ADI) calls the news a welcome victory for the white tigers, snow leopard, panther, and other exotic cats used as props in the controversial show. A local entertainment site,VegasBright,announced the show had “abruptly closed” and refunds are being offered to ticket holders.
ADI previously released videoofthe extreme confinement and environmental deprivation suffered by exotic cats in Dirk Arthur’s Wild Magic show when it opened at the Westgate last year. The exotic cats appear only minutes onstage, but for this endure around six hours a day in tiny travel cages and prop boxes barely larger than their bodies.
When not performing, the animals are warehoused in a series of small cement and chain link cells in Dirk Arthur’s backyard, in a residential area of Las Vegas. The tigers were observed performing abnormal, repetitive, stereotypic behaviors, which experts consider are indicative of stress and poor welfare.(A tiger’s natural range varies from 12 to almost 300 square miles.)
Dirk Arthur’s controversial show has a history of animal welfare violations, and has been condemned by animal care experts and a former Las Vegas animal illusionist. He has been cited numerous times by the USDA for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including a 2013 citation for declawing two juvenile tigers and a juvenile lion. Declawing is a painful, often debilitating procedure prohibited by the USDA, that amputates part of each of the cat’s toes and commonly leads to chronic health problems. Arthur has been previously cited for enclosures that are too small to allow cats “normal postural and social adjustments and adequate freedom of movement,” including the ability to exercise. ADI has been urging Westgate to cancel this cruel act.
Jan Creamer, ADI President: “Once the Las Vegas Strip was dominated by acts featuring lions and tigers, but times are changing and the public is turning their back oninhumane entertainment. In recent weeks, we've seen indications Cole Bros. Circus may be going animal-free, Ringling Bros. is taking their elephants off the road, and now Vegas is finally rid of these inherently abusive exotic animal acts. Now it is time for Dirk Arthur to retire these cats to a reputable sanctuary.”
Being President isn't easy! Soon after I founded The Roar Foundation in 1983, I realized that you, our supporters, are the backbone of this organization. Maintaining the Shambala Preserve is not something one person can do alone, and without your help it would not be possible. I am grateful to my core for your continuing concern and generous donations.
As you know, I seldom cry out for help, but at this crucial time in our economy, I am doing just that. Along with the monthly challenge of raising $75,000 to cover our basic costs, we are now seeing a desperate need for more fire clearance and the rebuilding of some of our compounds to provide safe, secure, life-long sanctuary for the Great Cats who call Shambala home. The fire clearance quotes we have received are over $1,000.00 per day; and the new compounds (we need ten) are estimated at $100,000 each.
Many of these tasks are not only things we want and need to do, but are items that are being required by the different governmental agencies whom we deal with on a yearly basis.
The Roar Foundation operates solely on private donations including my own. Please consider sending us a donation, designated to The Roar Foundation Priority Fund - whatever you feel in your heart, large or small, will be greatly appreciated. I love these Great Cats more than my next breath, but they are not pets or business associates. I will continue to fight with all that is in me to stop them from being treated as commodities and to make sure that those in our care are allowed to live out their lives in peace and dignity.
Send a check to:
The Roar Foundation
6867 Soledad Canyon Road
Acton, CA 93510
A very warm thank-you for caring, from all of us at Shambala, animal and human.
With Love for the Wild Ones everywhere,
President The Roar Foundation
The Shambala Preserve