Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Big Cat Big Match Launch at the Linnean Society

Staging site


Bengal Tiger, close up.
Date and Time: 
30 September 2014, 7-9.15pm
Lecture Theatre, Linnean Society, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BF
Free (booking essential)

Representatives and overseas partners of World Land Trust (WLT) from BorneoIndia and Iran came together to launch WLT’s Big Match Fortnight 2014 to raise funds for the conservation of big cat habitat. During Big Cat Big Match in the first two weeks of October every donation to WLT’s Big Cat Appeal will be matched pound for pound.

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Guests at the launch heard from Dr Isabelle Lackman, Co-Director of Hutan, WLT’s partner in Malaysia. Isabelle spoke of the tremendous success of Big Match Fortnight in 2013, which raised an incredible £725,000 for WLT’s Bornean Rainforest Appeal and secured Keruak Corridor in Kinabatangan.

Big Cat Big Match postcard

Big Match 2014

In 2014 Big Match Fortnight’s target is £500,000 and the fundraising focus is on big cats, particularly keystone species such as Bengal Tiger, Jaguar and Puma

The majority of wild cats are declining throughout their range and without these top predators the whole ecosystem is threatened.

Outside conservation areas, big cats are severely threatened by loss of habitat, human-wildlife conflict and hunting. To survive, big cats need more wildlife corridors away from humans, larger reserves and greater protection.

WLT’s overseas partners protect big cats on many of their reserves and the aim of the Big Cat Appeal is to fund more land purchase and protection across their ranges to ensure stable populations.

Special guests

Vivek Menon, Executive Director of Wildlife Trust of India, talked about the challenge of saving tigers in a country of 1.2 billion people and he set out compelling reasons for tiger conservation in northern India where the human deaths from tiger attacks make it ever more urgent to keep tigers and humans separate. He spoke about the conservation issues his organisation faces on a daily basis and explained his vision for a protected tiger corridor to link Corbett Tiger Reserve with Ramnagar Division Forest (Chilkiya-Kota Corridor).

Mahboobeh Shirkhorshidi from Iranian Cheetah Society (ICS) was another special guest. She described ICS’s efforts to conserve the Asiatic Cheetah, once widespread in several Asian countries, and now confined to Iran where there is a total population of no more than 70. She also spoke of the importance of establishing a protected corridor for Caucasian Leopards to move freely between the countries of the Caucasus - Armenia and Azerbaijan - and Iran. Iran has 65 per cent of the global population of Caucasian Leopards and the leopard populations in the Caucasus are dependent for their survival on interbreeding with the leopard populations in Iran.

Other WLT representatives who spoke at the event were WLT Council members Bill Oddie and Simon Barnes and WLT Ambassadors Emma Beckett and Nicola Davies. They shared their experiences of visiting WLT projects overseas.

In making a final appeal for funds, Bill Oddie said: “Of all the projects I’ve been to - and I've been to quite a few - I always have a feeling of immense confidence in the work of World Land Trust and their partners. These are terrific people and wonderful animals. We must not let them go.”

Big Cat Big Match logo

Presentations were followed by drinks in the Library.

There was priority booking for WLT Friends until 5pm on 5 September 2014. Thereafter tickets were available for the general public.

News of the launch »

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