Last night, I attended an event for Leopards, Etc. that brought big cats up close to the attendees. For a small venue in Los Altos Hills, they packed in more people with cameras than are at major philanthropic events in San Francisco. This was way better than celebrity-watching, IMHO. These big cats, brought down from Occidental, CA, where they run amongst Redwoods and Oaks when not working for the organization, represent all of the threatened and endangered big cat species around the world.
The Leopards, Etc. organization provides educational programs where the big cats go out and show the world how special they are. I’ve never seen such gigantic paws on such gentle creatures. They also raise money for other organizations, like the Snow Leopard Conservancy that saves Snow Leopards from being stoned to death when they encroach on livestock. These other organizations funded raise awareness around the world by putting up fences and teaching locals that it is possible to live in harmony with big cats around the corner. My favorite cat at the event was a Siberian Lynx, named Oksana. Leopards, Etc. allows “adoptions” where you can adopt-a-cat from a distance, like many other animal organizations allow.
For Bay Area locals, you can see the big cats in action at Foothill College at 2pm on Sunday, March 25.