Cape Town - National Geographic and the South African Mint have partnered to release limited-edition sets of legal-tender coins, branded with the iconic cheetah.
The National Geographic Big Cats Coin Program will benefit the Big Cats Initiative (BCI), a long-term conservation effort which aims to halt the decline of big cats in the wild.
GovMint, considered by NatGeo as "one of the world’s leading sources of collectable coins", has signed on as the exclusive distributor of the conservation-driven collectables.
The collection will feature on its coin face the cheetah, a native species of South Africa. Famously the world’s fastest land animal, cheetahs can accelerate from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in just three seconds. Their keen eyesight and ability to make quick and sudden turns also make them a fierce predator. The cheetah’s distinct spotted coat allows them to blend easily into high, dry grasses.
Coins aim to 'shine a spotlight' on conservation efforts
Sadly, these incredible animals' numbers are dwindling due to human encroachment on the wide, open grasslands in which they live. It is estimated that only 7 000 to 10 000 of these big cats remain in their native eastern and southwestern Africa.
Andy Reif for National Geographic Partners says, “Big Cats in the wild are disappearing at an alarming rate. It is the goal of the Big Cats Initiative to halt this decline through on-the-ground conservation and education projects."
According to Bill Gale, founder of GovMint, “featuring the cheetah on its gold and silver coins will shine a spotlight on such a beloved, iconic species.”
“When we consider new editions, we try to choose subjects that we think will not only resonate with our collectors, but that also represent a direct connection to the countries issuing the coins,” Gale says.
The collection of coins is available for purchase online.
The National Geographic Society’s Big Cats Initiative supports scientists and conservationists working to save big cats in the wild. With your help, they’ve supported 64 innovative projects to protect seven iconic big cat species in 27 countries and built 1 000 bomas to protect livestock, big cats, and people. You can see more about the Big Cats Initiative’s work to stop the decline of lions, leopards, tigers and other big cats here.
See the incredible NatGeo Big Cats Initiatives video below to learn about Africa's big cats' fight for survival:
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