Protecting Big Cats with The African Wildlife Foundation
Signatures of Support
Successful National Movement
UNSDG 5: Halt biodiversity loss.
Combat poaching and trafficking of protected species, including by increasing the capacity of local communities to pursue sustainable livelihood opportunities.
“The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are a call for action by all countries – poor, rich and middle-income – to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection. ” – United Nations
The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) is a leading advocate for the protection of wildlife, and wild lands, to support a thriving, and prosperous Africa.
Founded in 1961, and dedicated to serving Africa’s conservation needs, the nonprofit works to demonstrate the benefits of conservation through science, and public policy. Ultimately, AWF fights for the survival of the continent’s unique wildlife, and ecosystems.
As the Netflix series “Tiger King” began dominating news headlines in early 2020, AWF saw an opportunity to educate the public on the dangers of private “zoos,” and “sanctuaries.” The organization wanted to show people some of what gets lost behind “Tiger King’s” characters, and how places like the featured “Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park” can endanger big cats rather than protect them.
Africa’s lions, cheetahs, and leopards are losing their habitat. As a result, their populations are falling. AWF wanted to highlight how the lack of regulation governing the ownership of wild animals, like big cats, makes species particularly vulnerable to abuse by illegal wildlife traffickers.
Older cats, for example, are especially vulnerable to illegal trafficking because they can’t be exploited for cub petting, and are therefore less profitable. With few legal protections, these cats can end up in private facilities with dangerous, unhealthy conditions that put them — and their human caretakers — at risk.
Aside from wanting to raise awareness about the issue at a time when it had caught the public’s attention, AWF needed audiences to take action. In particular, the organization needed help to lobby for the necessary legal protections to save more of these majestic creatures from similar fates.
The African Wildlife Foundation reached out to VidMob Gives to collaborate on some video assets for a paid media campaign across AWF’s social media channels, especially Facebook.
“We knew VidMob was the right partner for this campaign because our previous project with them yielded more than 334,000 views on a single Facebook video – an increase of more than 600 percent compared to other videos published in that same year!” – Brett Nolan, Social Media Manager, African Wildlife Foundation
The goal of the campaigns was to highlight the dangers of the big cat trade, to incentivize a global audience to sign AWF’s petition to curb the trade by boycotting cub petting, and by pledging never to own big cats.
The new video, which was viewed nearly 60,000 times across social media (a 24% increase in average views), helped to drive great results for AWF’s campaign:
- 48,000+ wildlife supporters signed the pledge to boycott the trade in big cats, including 10,000 global wildlife advocates.
- The campaign raised more than $20,000 for the cause.
The video produced by VidMob was also part of a larger campaign calling on Congress in the United States to pass the “Big Cat Public Safety Act.”
“The Big Cat Public Safety Act would bar the private ownership of these animals, and prohibit exhibitors from allowing public contact with cubs. This legislation aims to correct the mistreatment of wild animals, and limit the danger posed to the public, including law enforcement officers who respond to escapes, and attacks.” – Edwin Tambara, Director of External Affairs, African Wildlife Foundation
These efforts paid off in December 2020, when The House of Representatives passed the Big Cat Safety Act. AWF will continue to advocate for this critically important legislation until it is passed by the U.S. Senate, and signed into law.
“Thanks to VidMob’s talented team, and well-produced videos, I’m confident our social audiences will keep fighting for the safety of big cats. And with the data we’re learning from the Creative Intelligence tool, we’ll have no problem activating new audiences and turning wildlife enthusiasts into wildlife advocates.”
Meet The Team
This team of creators helped AWF to highlight the dangers of the big cat trade, and to advocate for legislation that will protect wildlife, and people, in future: