Multi-millionaire CEO creates foundation dedicated to conservation of big cats around the world

The CEO of a billion dollar corporation based in Maine is putting his money to good use by starting a foundation dedicated to the conservation of big cats and their habitats.

Ibexx Laboratories Inc. has a revenue of around $2 billion and CEO Jonathan Ayers is worth an estimated $200 million. The company is listed in the S&P 500 and NASDAQ, and is a “global leader in veterinary diagnostics and software.”

Ayers bought up company stock in 2002 and 2003 that is worth millions of dollars, and he and his wife are now using that money to establish and fund a foundation that will work to protect wild cats around the globe

According to a company news release, the Ayers Wild Cat Conservation Trust “will focus on supporting the funding of global wild cat species conservation initiatives and organizations.”

While the foundation’s purpose is to support conservation initiatives for all species of wild cats, a specific focus will be on the 33 species of small cats, which currently receive only a small fraction of all wild cat conservation funding. Many of these felid species are endangered or vulnerable with declining populations, and include the clouded leopard, the black-footed cat, the sand cat, and the fishing cat.

In a statement, Ayers expressed how important it is to him and his family that there are big cats for future generations to enjoy in years to come.

“We lionize cats such as jaguars, leopards, and cheetahs in popular culture—and yet felid species in the wild are threatened with declining populations and, in time, extinction,” he said. “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 that 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.”

Hunting and habitat destruction are the two major threats to big cat populations today. And many of these majestic felines are on the brink of extinction, including the Amur leopard, Iberian lynx, South China tiger and the Scottish wildcat.

While humans are the primary cause in the decline of big cats, we can play a major role in reversing it through investments such as the Ayers Wild Cat Conservation Trust. More actions need to be taken to protect big cats from the perils they face, but if more wealthy businessmen like Ayers step up to do good things with their wealth for conservation efforts, there is much that can be accomplished in a short amount of time to safeguard these animals for many years to come.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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