Save Big Cats with TOMS and National Geographic

was a love for lions and the fear of their extinction in the
wild that sparked Heather Mycoskie’s brainchild, The TOMS Animal Initiative. Wife of TOMS
founder Blake Mycoskie, Heather created the initiative, which
partners with nonprofit animal conservation organisations, to help
raise awareness and funds for the protection of wild animals. In
combined efforts with National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative,
TOMS launched its Big Cats Collection to draw critical attention to
the dwindling big cat population worldwide. Mycoskie recently took
her conservation efforts to Botswana with National Geographic’s Big Cats
, where she was able to get up close and personal
with some of the majestic creatures she has been dedicating her
time and effort into saving.

SUITCASE MAGAZINE: You’ve worked with the Virunga
National Park, World Wildlife Fund and Wildlife Conservation
Society, among others. Why did you choose to partner with National
Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative for the Big Cats

Initiative as an overarching platform to drive awareness for global
animal conservation. We work with organisations that are doing
innovative and amazing work to help endangered species. By
highlighting these programs through the animal initiative we are
able to bring all types of issues to the forefront. By aligning
with the right partners, like National Geographic, we are making a
significant step in helping to protect big cats.

SM: What part of your journey to Botwsana to meet
National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence and big cat
conservationists, Beverly and Dereck Joubert, made the biggest
impact on you?

HM: I had the honour of fulfilling a lifelong
dream of travelling to Botswana to meet Beverly and Dereck. Through
my research for the Big Cats Collection I became infatuated with
the work the Jouberts had accomplished to help save and protect big
cats. It was truly an honour to experience first-hand the work that
National Geographic and the Jouberts are doing.

SM: Why is helping animals important to

HM: It breaks my heart to think that animals I
have known and loved all of my life will be a dying species as my
son grows up. I have always had a passion for animals, but as a
community we can bring attention to the threats endangered animals
face and help ensure these creatures roam the earth for generations
to come.

SM: Your favourite big cat?

HM: I was actually inspired to start the Big
Cat Collection when I learned just how at risk lions are of
becoming extinct. I’m so glad we were able to extend the collection
to include other big cats, but lions hold a special place in my

SM: Any scary moments?

HM: Not necessarily scary moments, but I did
have some moments of deep reverence for the lions we saw in the
wild. These animals truly are magnificent and witnessing them in
their element, on the hunt, is something I can never forget.

SM: How will purchasing a pair of these TOMS Big Cats
Collection shoes, eyewear and bags help save big

HM: This limited edition TOMS + National
Geographic Big Cats Collection supports National Geographic’s
critical non-profit work, including the Big Cats Initiative. Big
Cats in the wild are disappearing at an alarming rate and this
collection draws attention to the critical need to protect these
majestic creatures for generations to come.

SM: What’s next for The TOMS Animal

HM: Each organisation brings expertise in their
own field. By working together we are able to talk to all of our
supporters collectively to bring awareness to a cause in a way that
we have not been able to do in the past. Our next partnership is
with Oceana, protecting Sea Turtles, and will launch in Spring

Support big cats with the The TOMS Big Cats Collection and National Geographic’s Big Cats

Introduction by Kate Radin

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