Jho Low pledges US$20m to big cat rescue

Low (centre) pedals a trishaw carrying US rapper Swizz Beatz while Busta Rhymes rides in another trishaw driven by 1 Malaysia Welfare club chairman Geh Choh Hun (far right) in George Town on April 19, 2013. Low will donate US$20 million (RM64 million) to a New York-based wild cat conservation effort Panthera.— file picture
Low (centre) pedals a trishaw carrying US rapper Swizz Beatz while Busta Rhymes rides in another trishaw driven by 1 Malaysia Welfare club chairman Geh Choh Hun (far right) in George Town on April 19, 2013. Low will donate US$20 million (RM64 million) to a New York-based wild cat conservation effort Panthera.— file picture

KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — Flamboyant tycoon Jho Low will donate US$20 million (RM64 million) across the next decade to a New York-based wild cat conservation effort.

The mysterious Malaysian magnate was among four international billionaires who have so far pledged the amount to Panthera, the corporation founded by US philanthropist and entrepreneur Thomas Kaplan, that aims to rescue big cats such as tigers, lions, and jaguars from extinction.

Aside from Low and Kaplan, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Hemendra Kothari, chairman of Blackrock India, are the others who have pledged to give US$20 million each to the cause.

The Malaysian businessman’s involvement in Panthera came about after Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi agreed to an alliance with Kaplan; Low, a friend to both, then decided to join in the effort.

“We are humbled to partner with friends who share a common vision and long-term commitment to securing the future of these big cats and their landscapes for generations to come,” Low, CEO of Jynwel Capital and director of Jynwel Charitable Foundation, was quoted as saying by National Geographic on its website.

Aside from the main conservation effort, Low also aims collaborate with Panthera to recreate the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) programme — started by Kaplan at Oxford University — in China.

“Tom is my mentor, and I hope to spread the word around those my age,” Low was quoted as saying by business news website Forbes.

Panthera, founded in 2006, aims to raise a total of US$200 million for its conservation programme across the next ten years.

The wild cat rescue is not Low’s only such contribution towards conservation; his newly-formed Jynwel Charitable Foundation also gives to National Geographic’s Pristine Seas Expeditions.

But it unclear the form and extent of Low’s contribution to the Pristine Seas programme.

Jynwel Charitable Foundation describes itself as the philanthropic arm of Jynwel Capital Limited and built on “the Low Family’s shared heritage and vision for investing in society.”

Aside from conservation, the foundation also professes to support health and education.

Little is known of Low, save his semi-regular appearances among Hollywood’s elite.