The week's good news: June 8, 2023

It wasn't all bad!

A leopard sits in a tree
(Image credit: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

1. Saving Spots initiative protects wildcats and cultural traditions in Zambia

Holding the synthetic leopard fur up next to the real thing, it's hard to tell which is which — and that's exactly what the team behind Saving Spots wants to hear. Saving Spots — launched in August 2019 by Panthera, the global wildcat conservation organization, and the Barotse Royal Establishment of the Lozi people — is an initiative in Zambia that aims to protect the country's wildcat populations while preserving the traditions and ceremonies of the Lozi, like the Kuomboka festival. During this annual event, community members wear lipatelo skirts made from leopard and serval fur and mishukwe headpieces topped by lion manes. Panthera developed and designed faux leopard and serval furs called heritage furs to replace this regalia, and they have the endorsement of the Lozi king. This not only reduces demand for wildcat skins but also preserves one of the Lozi people's most important ceremonial events. Since 2019, 1,350 lipatelo and mishukwe made of heritage fur have been distributed, and eventually all of the regalia for every Lozi event will be synthetic.

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Catherine Garcia, The Week US

Catherine Garcia is night editor for TheWeek.com. Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and EW.com, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.