“We lionize cats such as jaguars, leopards, and cheetahs in popular culture, yet felid species in the wild are threatened with declining populations and, in time, extinction,” Ayers says. “We need to do more to preserve their populations in their natural habitat.”
“Helaine and I believe in the importance of dedicated species conservation efforts, and we hope our foundation will help to support the vitality of wild cats, their natural habitats, and the professionals dedicated to them in a meaningful way for years to come.”
The Ayers Wild Cat Conservation Trust will focus on 33 species of small cats, as they currently only receive a small fraction of all wild cat conservation funding. A lot of these wild cats are endangered or vulnerable with declining populations, including the clouded leopard, the black-footed cat, the sand cat, and the fishing cat.
Funds will be given to initiatives such as the Panthera Small Cats Program, which the Ayers family helped establish. The program is dedicated to the conservation of the world’s 40 wild cat species and their ecosystems.