Ayers Wild Cat Conservation Trust pledges $20 million for small cats

Ayers Wild Cat Conservation Trust pledges $20 million for small cats

Panthera, a wild cat conservation organization based in New York City, has announced that the Ayers Wild Cat Conservation Trust has joined the Global Alliance for Wild Cats and will invest at least $20 million over the next decade in support of wild cat conservation efforts.

Established in 2019 by IDEXX Laboratories chair and CEO Jonathan Ayers and his wife, Helaine, with a gift of IDEXX stock, the trust, which is focused on small cat conservation, earlier helped launch Panthera's Small Cats Program. Its latest investment will support the conservation of the clouded leopard, ocelot, and black-footed cat, as well as other small and little-known wild cat species with habitats ranging from Brazil to Borneo to Botswana. According to Panthera, the majority of wild cat conservation funding is focused on the seven big cat species, with less than 1 percent supporting efforts to conserve the thirty-three species of small cats.

The global alliance was launched in 2014 by Panthera founder and board chair Thomas S. Kaplan and his wife, Daphne Recanati Kaplan, in partnership with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, and other members from China, India, Saudi Arabia, and the United States, each of whom have pledged $20 million over ten years to support the conservation of wild cats.

"By focusing the spotlight not only on the big cats but also on the thirty-three out of forty species of wild cats that are known as 'small cats', [Ayers] has already proven to be a game-changer in cat conservation," said Kaplan. "Jon's preternatural leadership abilities and professional expertise will be invaluable as we accelerate and deepen the impact of the Global Alliance. His prodigious talents, when combined with an acute appreciation of both the magnificence and the vulnerability of wild cats, makes him a singular partner in this noble cause."