Protecting big cats announced as theme of next year's World Wildlife Day

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-04 02:05:42|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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GENEVA, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- Lion, tiger, leopard and jaguar, these "big cats" are all majestic animals and symbols of power and courage, but globally they all face significant threats to their survival in the wild, the wildlife body CITES warned on Sunday.

In a statement issued Sunday here, the secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora(CITES) , announced that all of the world's big cats will come under the international spotlight on World Wildlife Day 2018.

According to CITES, the populations of the Earth's big cats are declining at a disturbing rate due to loss of habitat land prey, conflicts with people and poaching and illegal trade.

For example, CITES said in the statement, tiger populations plummeted by 95 percent over the past 100 years and African lion populations dropped by 40 percent in just 20 years.

The wildlife body explained that the expanded definition of big cats includes not only lion, tiger, leopard and jaguar, the largest wild cats that can roar, but also cheetah, snow leopard, puma, clouded leopard and etc.

Big cat species are found in Africa, Asia, and North, Central and South America, representing a virtually global distribution.

"Over the past century we have been losing big cats, the planet's most majestic predators, at an alarming rate. World Wildlife Day 2018 gives us the opportunity to raise awareness about their plight and to galvanize support for the many global and national actions that are underway to save these iconic species," said CITES Secretary-General John E. Scanlon.

"Through World Wildlife Day, big cats will generate the level of attention they all deserve to be sure they are with us for generations to come," he stressed.