It puts a smile on your face whenever you hear of people helping animals. Every day in the U.S. there is someone signing up to volunteer at a local animal shelter, a generous person donating to a worthy organization or foundation, and a family finalizing the adoption for their new shelter dog. Celebrities are doing some pretty great things for animals these days, too, using their public status as a tool in the fight to protect and save animals, support animal initiatives, and to spread the word about why we should get involved. Everyone is doing what they can to make the world a better place.

Talking about celebrities, Shania Twain just announced her new and exciting role with the world’s leading cat conservation organization, Panthera. She is the Global Ambassador for Panthera’s newly launched leopard conservation initiative, Project Pardus. You heard right! The world’s best-selling country artist of all time as also an animal lover and big cat conservationist.

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Panthera’s mission is to ensure the future of big wild cats, the most endangered cats are tigers, lions, jaguars and snow leopards, through scientific leadership and global conservation strategies and action. The leopard population and its future is in serious danger, but there is hope with support from passionate individuals and programs like Project Pardus, the first program established by a conservation organization that highlights the need to stop the senseless killing of leopards before they are wiped from the earth.

Shania hopes to use her global platform to help show the connection between a leopard’s unique beauty and its human-caused dangerous life in the wild.

“The image and spirit of the leopard is an inspiration to millions around the world, including myself,” said Shania. “That it is also the most oppressed of the big cats is almost unknown. If we’re to save this animal in the wild, we have to get ahead of the curve before it suffers the same fate as so many other species that we once felt to be secure in their numbers. I feel privileged to give back to a creature that depends for its future on what we do now to save it…and I urge the wider world to join Panthera and me in this mission.”

Shania’s empathy and passion for nature makes her a role model for big cat conservation. She’s inspirational, really, and the timing of her support comes at a critical point as leopards are more than ever being threatened by habitat destruction, livestock herders killing in the thousands, trophy-hunting, and poaching for their skins and other body parts.

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“Shania’s timing in giving her voice to the voiceless is pitch perfect. Because of their adaptability and intelligence, the future of the leopard is often taken for granted,” said Dr. Thomas Kaplan, Panthera’s founder and chairman.

Learn more about the efforts of Panthera and Shaina Twain’s message on their website.

Image source: Sara Collaton/Flickr

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