Minnesota Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson Causes An Uproar for National Geographic's Big Cats Initiative

Sep 18, 2012, 09:00 ET from Nat Geo WILD

Pledges Donation to Big Cats for Every Sack He Makes During NFL Regular Season

MIAMI, Sept. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Minnesota Vikings Star Linebacker Erin Henderson is causing an uproar for National Geographic's Big Cats Initiative. The NFL star is taking action in an effort to increase the awareness and importance of saving big cats around the world.

"I am very excited to support National Geographic's Big Cats Initiative. I have always felt an inner lion roaring within me, and bringing awareness to the population decline of these majestic animals is an opportunity to share my passion and love for the king of the jungle," Henderson said.

National Geographic's Big Cats Initiative is a comprehensive program that is dedicated to halting the decline of big cats through on-the-ground conservation projects and education by partnering with local communities to stop poaching and to save and protect habitats. Lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards and other big cats are quickly disappearing, which could create a devastating impact on our ecosystem. The Big Cats Initiative, supported on air by Nat Geo WILD and through its Cause An Uproar awareness campaign, aims to halt the decline of big cat populations by the year 2015 and to restore them to sustainable levels.  Information can be found online at causeanuproar.org.

To address this critical issue, starting linebacker Henderson will make a monetary donation for every football sack that he makes during the NFL regular season.  He is calling it "Sacks for Cats" with hopes that he will inspire other NFL players to join him.

"Time is of the essence for the plight of the big cats, and I wanted to step up to provide my personal assistance. I believe strongly if we all take a stand, we can all play a part in restoring big cat populations and bring attention to the dramatic rate that lions, tigers and cheetahs are disappearing," Henderson said.

The presence and impact of NFL professionals on the field is just as important off the field. Henderson's hope is that his philanthropic efforts for National Geographic's Big Cats Initiative will spread and ignite support from his teammates and fans.