NEW YORK—Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization, and Hermès have joined forces to create a living legacy to Robert Dallet, the late French artist and naturalist whose lifelike paintings of wild cats for the Parisian house have captivated a generation of Hermès clientele. The Robert Dallet Initiative for Wild Cat Conservation will help to fund Panthera’s leading research and on-the-ground efforts to protect wild cats and their landscapes around the world. The initiative, as well as the new Fierce and Fragile exhibition of Dallet’s work opening this week at the Bruce Museum of Arts and Science in Greenwich, CT, was conceived by Hermès artistic director Pierre-Alexis Dumas and Panthera founder and chairman Dr. Thomas Kaplan.
“Robert Dallet devoted his life to conveying the beauty and mystery of wild cats but, as a realist, he despaired of their chances for long-term survival in a world that was increasingly hostile to them,” said Pierre-Alexis Dumas. “Dallet passed away in 2006 with a heavy heart, just as Panthera was being born.”
Dr. Kaplan added, “On the occasion of Panthera’s 10th anniversary, Hermès and Panthera have come together to create the Robert Dallet Initiative for Wild Cat Conservation. It is our distinct honor to collaborate with Hermès to elevate Dallet’s unique brand of advocacy to new audiences and to translate his artistic fervor into science-based strategies to save the wild cats he loved.”
Funding for the Robert Dallet Initiative will come in part from proceeds of the sale of its 2016 charitable scarf featuring a Dallet illustration of a leopard—Panthera Pardus—as well as an auction in Greenwich to be conducted by Sotheby’s. The auction will feature a half dozen one-of-a-kind, meticulously crafted Hermès objets d’art featuring Dallet’s drawings and paintings of wild cats, as well as two extraordinary travel experiences.
Mr. Dumas stated, “This unprecedented cultural collaboration is rooted in the concept of preservation—of craftsmanship, heritage, and of species. We can think of no better partner to help realize Dallet’s dream of a future for wild cats than Panthera. Their commitment to rigorous science, and their understanding of man’s complex relationship with big cats, as well as the need to conserve and connect their increasingly fragmented landscapes, would have thrilled Dallet. Panthera’s unique ability to weave those dynamics into real conservation outcomes promises hope for these iconic animals and is the cornerstone of this effort.”
Saving Cats in Dallet’s Name
Through a combination of Hermès’ financial contributions and a multifaceted outreach campaign that will increase awareness for Panthera's efforts globally, the Robert Dallet Initiative will enable Panthera and its partners to broaden and deepen their successes in cat conservation worldwide, including:
Rebuilding lion populations in Africa
Over the past decade, Panthera’s Project Leonardo has led to landscape level increases in lion populations, from 600 to 1200 in Mozambique’s Niassa National Reserve and from 300 to 500 in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, home to Cecil the lion before he was tragically killed in July of 2015. The Robert Dallet Initiative will help Panthera to advance its leading lion conservation initiatives, the nature of which will be discussed at the upcoming Cecil Summit at Oxford University. The summit will convene lion experts from around the world to create a comprehensive action plan for reversing the lion’s precipitous decline throughout much of Africa.
Building the world’s largest wildlife corridor for jaguars
From Mexico to Brazil, Panthera is guiding an unprecedented collaboration between governments, landowners, developers, and communities to create an uninterrupted jaguar corridor—itself the world’s most ambitious carnivore conservation project. In 2016, the Dallet Initiative will help Panthera to forge new relationships that will advance its goal of range-wide connectivity from north to south, while expanding infrastructure and education projects that have been effective in eliminating retaliatory killings where jaguars and livestock live in close proximity.
Increasing snow leopards by increasing their prey
In Tajikistan, community-based nature conservancies are increasing snow leopard prey like argali and ibex by actively managing legal hunting. Counts of prey have increased by as much as 56% over four years, a critical factor in increasing snow leopard populations in these remote areas. The Robert Dallet Initiative will contribute to Panthera’s efforts to build upon these and other programs, including proven efforts to stop retaliatory killing and poaching of snow leopards throughout their range in Central Asia.
Protecting tigers from poachers
At key tiger sites in Southeast Asia and India where Panthera and its partners are implementing Panthera’s leading edge anti-poaching strategies, there are now indications of stable or growing tiger populations. In the coming years, the Robert Dallet Initiative will help Panthera to expand its specialized ranger training and advanced law enforcement programs, as well as its state-of-the art monitoring technology, to protect lions, leopards, snow leopards and jaguars, which are all increasingly threatened by poaching for the illegal wildlife trade.
Ending global persecution of leopards
Arguably the largest cat saving conservation initiative in the world, Panthera’s acclaimed Furs for Life program is saving leopards in South Africa by replacing real leopard skins used in religious ceremonies with thousands of high-quality fake furs; in 2015 alone, 5,486 fake fur capes were distributed to members of the Shembe church. The Robert Dallet Initiative will help to advance Panthera’s Project Pardus, a unique range-wide program to save the leopard globally, which will expand into Southeast Asia in 2016 with a major region-wide effort to stop rampant poaching of leopards and restore their populations before it’s too late.
Mr. Dumas concluded, “There is no greater tribute we can pay to Robert Dallet than to at last forge that elusive connection between his life’s work and groundbreaking science that is saving wild cats from extinction.”
Fierce and Fragile
Robert Dallet’s iconic wild cats will be on display for the first time beginning January 10 at the Bruce Museum. The exhibition, entitled Fierce and Fragile, will feature approximately 60 of Dallet’s paintings, drawings and sketches of tigers, lions, leopards, snow leopards, cheetahs and more. The paintings have been selected from Hermès' own collection and from that of Dallet's son, Frédéric. The exhibition will run at the Bruce Museum through March 13, after which it will begin an international tour of Europe and Asia throughout 2016 and 2017.
Panthera, founded in 2006, is devoted exclusively to the conservation of wild cats and their landscapes, which sustain people and biodiversity. Panthera’s team of preeminent cat biologists develop and implement science-based conservation strategies for cheetahs, jaguars, leopards, lions, pumas, snow leopards and tigers. Representing the most comprehensive effort of its kind, Panthera works in partnership with NGOs, scientific institutions, communities, corporations and governments to create effective, replicable models that are saving wild cats around the globe. For more information, visit Panthera.org
Hermès was founded in 1837 as a maker of harnesses and saddles. Six generations of enterprising artisans have opened up new domains and conquered new markets imbued with respect for the past and enthusiasm for the future. A family owned company; Hermès is managed by Chief Executive Officer Axel Dumas, a member of the sixth generation of the family. The artistic direction is led by Pierre-Alexis Dumas, also a member of the sixth generation. For further information about Hermès, Hermès products, and other store locations in the United States, please visit Hermès.com.