Big Cat Facts & Why You Should Help Them

Big Cat Facts & Why You Should Help Them

“Big cats” is referring to some of the largest wild cats in places like Africa and Asia which include leopards, lions, jaguars, tigers, cheetahs, snow leopards, mountain lions (puma), clouded leopard and Sunda clouded leopard. These animals are beautiful creatures and it is amazing to see them in their natural habitat. Check out our facts about big cats and also useful links where you can play a role in helping conservation efforts.


General Facts

  • Cheetahs, leopards and lions are native to Africa
  • Asiatic cheetahs, Amur leopards, Sunda clouded leopards, clouded leopards, Asiatic lions, snow leopards and tigers are native to Asia
  • Cougars (puma, mountain lion), jaguars (in Spanish – león and tigres) are native to North America, Central America and South America
  • Big cats are the only wild cats that can roar (apart from snow leopards) and cheetahs who purr
  • If you would like to play a role in helping big cats there are lots of volunteer programs abroad



  • Cheetah are the fastest animal on land - they are run at speeds of around 60 miles an hour!!
  • Cheetahs can accelerate faster than most sports cars going from 0 to 60 miles an hour in only 3 seconds!
  • Cheetahs can survive without water for days
  • Cheetahs cannot climb trees
  • Cheetah numbers in the wild have reduced over 50% since the 1970's
  • In 1990 there were over 100,000 cheetahs in the wild but now there are only around 10,000
  • Cheetahs can only run for around 30 seconds before needing a break
  • You can apply to volunteer with cheetahs in Africa




  • Tigers' natural habitat has been lost over the past century
  • Tigers can swim
  • Tigers are being poached and their skin, bones and other body parts which is used in traditional medicine in Asia
  • No two tigers have the same stripe patern
  • You can apply to join tiger conservation volunteer programs
  • The Korean Demilitarized Zone is home to many wild animals like the Korean Tiger 




  • Jaguars are endangered species with only around 15,000 remianing in the wild
  • 'Jaguar' is a name which originates from a Native American word which means "he who kills with one leap"
  • Jaguars have been found in fossils from over 2 million years ago




  • Since the 1950's lion populations in the wild have decreased by 50%
  • A wild lion usually lives for around 10-16 years
  • Lots of people every year look to volunteer with lion cubs but many sanctuaries are actually involved with the brutal canned hunting industry. Check this article before applying: what to know before volunteering with lions
  • A lion's roar is so loud it can be heard up for up to 5 miles away
  • There are lots of lion volunteer programs in South Africa and other locations worldwide
  • Lions live with other lions in prides




  • Leopards are the strongest big cat and can carry prey over 2 times its body weight up a tree
  • Sadly leopards are some of the most endangered animals in the world
  • Snow leopards are known to mate around 10-35 times a day
  • Snow leopards cannot roar
  • Snow leopards can travel several miles a day in search of prey
  • There are opportunities to volunteer with leopards in Africa and Asia



Related Pages & Popular Destinations to Help

Related Opportunities

South Africa, Cheetah and Predator conservation

Help conserve Cheetahs and other predators and big cats in their natural environment. You'll live on a Game Reserve, in a delightful bush camp where you get up close and personal with the animals. You may also research and monitor Buffalo habituation.

EcoQuest - Based on safari guide training

Learn all about the bush from stunning wilderness camps on a course that is based on the actual training that safari guides complete!

Elephant & Big 5 Wildlife Conservation

Volunteer in Zimbabwe’s most unspoilt national park. 

Namibia Wildlife Conservation & Sanctuary

Deep in the Namibian bush you have the rare opportunity to work with some of Africa’s most extraordinary creatures – hand-raise baboons, care for injured animals, and track and monitor big cats.

Wild Kruger Photo Workshop & Safari

Join us on our classic 8-day tour to Kruger National Park. This adventure is ideal for those who want to spend much time out practicing their skills. Our photographer is at hand to provide tips and advice throughout the time.

Cairo to Cape Town Overland Tour

Join the ultimate 16 week Africa adventure from Egypt to South Africa taking in Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia.

Southern Africa Safari Experience

Witness nature's greatest spectacles on a 18-day safari to some of Africa’s celebrated national parks, including Kruger and Chobe. 

SOUTH AFRICA: Zululand Wildlife & Game Reserves Conservation Expedition

Get involved with the most exciting, endangered and priority species conservation work in the heartbeat of Africa. You'll work with a professional team across different reserves.

Phinda Wildlife Research Project

Behind the scenes experience in one of southern Africa's prime Big 5 Game Reserves. 

SOUTH AFRICA: Veterinary Internship on Game Reserve

This is a rare and unique opportunity to gain hands-on veterinary experience with wild animals on a Game Reserve in northern South Africa!

Shimongwe Wildlife Veterinary Experience - South Africa

Gain real experience working alongside an experienced wildlife vet in South Africa.

South Africa: Game Reserve Conservation + Teaching

The ultimate African safari.  Experience thrilling wildlife encounters combined with life changing conservation and community projects.

India Tiger Photo Safari

A 12-day adventure in search of the majestic Bengal Tiger in Bandhavgarh and Kanha National Parks. An experienced photographer provides tuition and advice during the tour. Learn how to control the camera's settings to get the best shots.  

Shamwari Wildlife Reserve Conservation Volunteer

Become a wildlife volunteer on a South African Game Reserve.





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