Glenn Close is hoping to use her fame to save big cats.

The 70-year-old actress was recently named as the co-chair of Panthera's Conservation Council, which seeks to protect the world's 40 wild cat species and their ecosystems, and Close is hoping her celebrity status will help to shine a light on the issue.

She said: ''The biggest threat to big cats is the human population.

''What naturalists and conservationists have to figure out is given that the human population is growing, and will continue to grow, how do these two populations exist together? Because obviously the panthera population, they're the vulnerable ones.''

The actress' love of animals can be traced back to her childhood, when her grandparents took her to the Bronx Zoo in New York City.

And Close is determined to play her part in helping to safeguard the world's 40 wild cat species.

Speaking to the New York Post newspaper's Page Six column, she said: ''Big cats interest me in that they're the top of the heap where ever they are and for them to survive means that everything below them can survive.

''Somehow, you know, humans think that we can do it alone, that we're smart enough to create some kind of world that doesn't need the profound connection that has lead us to be where we are today. As far as I'm concerned, we're fleas on the planet.''

Close urged her fans to donate whatever they can to the cause, saying it's important for future generations that efforts are made to save big cats.

The Hollywood star said: ''I'm thinking of my great niece and hopefully someday I'll have a grandchild. I'm thinking of what kind of world they'll have.

''I just hope we never come to a world where the only wild animals you can see are in zoos.''