Saving our big cats - How we can start locally!


Did you see the BBC’s ‘Big Cats About the House’ recently?

If not, you missed a truly amazing and inspirational programme about The Big Cat Sanctuary in Kent, run by the remarkable Giles Clark and his team supporting the big cat conservation.

Giles has dedicated his life to animal welfare and is on a mission to save big cats. He previously worked at Australia Zoo near Brisbane, where close contact handling between man and beast was first initiated, so has extensive experience in working with big cats. The zoo is also famously known for its association with Steve Irwin and family.

Giles is now continuing his good work back on home turf in England and manages The Big Cat Sanctuary in Smarden, which attracts visitors from across the globe and is supporting efforts to save the endangered species by contributing to international breeding programmes.

According to research, “Eighty per cent of big cat species are in trouble, facing problems ranging from habitat shrinkage to poaching. The illegal global wildlife trade is estimated at £18 billion a year.”

Thanks to Giles and his team at The Big Cat Sanctuary, the likes of Maya the jaguar and Willow the cheetah (shown in the BBC series) are thriving.

It’s hard to imagine life without these magnificent beasts; tigers, leopards, snow leopards, lions, jaguars, pumas and cheetahs, so it’s time that we start thinking about how stop to the decline of these beautiful animals that are crying out for our support. But how?

Can we start talking about animal welfare more?

Can we educate our students at school?

Can we save the big cats?

As we are lucky enough to have The Big Cat Sanctuary so local to us in Kent, have you ever thought about using it as a resource for some lesson planning in your school? How about in Geography – you could explore the countries where these big cats originate from and delve into their habitats. Or in Art, you could create a big cat mask, either a tiger or a leopard, using various techniques to create their unique markings. Let us know how you get on! The sanctuary also offers various adoption and volunteering opportunities to help you get involved! 

If you would like to find out more about Giles, The Big Cat Sanctuary and their big cats, please visit

Keith Jackson

Education Business Manager  
Specialisms: Education
Tel: 01622 236862



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