Laurie L. Marker, DPhil.

Founder and Executive Director

Laurie Marker, Founder and Executive Director of Cheetah Conservation Fund

Laurie Marker, Founder and Executive Director of Cheetah Conservation Fund

Dr. Laurie Marker is Founder and Executive Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF). Having worked with cheetahs since 1974, Laurie set up the not-for-profit Fund in 1990 and moved to Namibia to develop a permanent Conservation Research Centre for the wild cheetah. CCF’s groundbreaking activities are housed at their International Research and Education Centre in the main cheetah habitat of the country. In July 2000, CCF opened a field research station to the public featuring a Visitor’s Centre as well as a Cheetah Museum and Education Centre.

Dr. Marker helped develop the U.S. and international captive program, establishing the most successful captive cheetah-breeding program in North America during her 16 years (1974-1988) at Oregon’s Wildlife Safari in the USA. Laurie first came to Namibia in 1977 when she brought a captive-born, hand-raised cheetah to Namibia to determine if a cheetah must be taught to hunt or if the process was fully instinctual. This was the first-of-its-kind research to better understand if there was a chance for captive-born cheetahs to be re-introduced into the wild. Dr. Marker learned about the conflict between livestock farmers and cheetahs in Namibia, discovering that wild cheetahs needed help. For the next ten years, she continued traveling to Africa to learn more about the wild cheetah’s problems and what could be done to assist wild populations.

In the early 1980′s, with collaborators at the National Zoo and National Cancer Institute (USA), Dr. Marker helped identify the cheetah’s lack of genetic variation, thus causing the species greater problems for survival. In 1988, in collaboration with these two institutions she became the Executive Director of the Centre for New Opportunities in Animal Health Sciences, based at Smithsonian Institution’s Nation al Zoo. She continues to serve as a NOAHS Research Fellow. In 1988 she developed the International Cheetah Studbook, a registry of captive cheetah worldwide, and is the International Studbook Keeper. In 1996 she was made a vice-chair of the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN) Species Survival Commission’s (SSC) Cat Specialist Group and now serves as a member on the core management group. Among numerous awards, Dr. Marker has been recognized as one of Time Magazine’s Heroes for the Planet in 2000 and received the Zoological Society of San Diego’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. More recently, she was awarded the 2010 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement and was a finalist for the BBC World Challenge. In Namibia, her home base, she received the Windhoek Rotary Club’s Paul Harris Fellowship in 2001, and in 2002 received a special award from the Sanveld Conservancy, signifying Namibia’s farming community’s public acknowledgement of Dr. Marker and CCF’s contributions. In 2002, Laurie received her doctorate from Oxford University, England.


Special Awards

2013

Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large, Cornell University
ICCF Good Steward Award

2011

Distinguished Alumni, Eastern Oregon State University

2011-2012

Rainer Arnhold Fellow

1981–2010

2010 — Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement Recipient
2010 — Indianapolis Prize Finalist
2009 — BBC World Challenge Finalist
2009 — St Andrews Prize for the Environment Finalist
2009 — International Wildlife Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award
2008 — Tech Museum’s Intel Environmental Award
2008 — San Diego Zoo’s Lifetime Achievement Award
2008 — Society of Women Geographers’ Gold Medal
2008 — Indianapolis Prize Finalist
2005 — Living Desert’s Track’s in the Sand – Conservationist of the Year
2003 — Chevron-Texaco Conservationist of the Year
2002 — Sandveld Conservancy’s Certificate of Honour, Namibia
2002 — Audi Terra Nova Awards Finalist, Southern Africa
2001 — Humanitarian of the Year, Marin County Humane Society
2001 — Paul Harris Fellowship, Rotary Club International, Windhoek, Namibia
2000 — Burrows Conservation Award, Cincinnati Zoo
2000 — Hero for the Planet, Time Magazine
1997 — Distinguished Leadership Award, American Biographical Institute
1992 — Conservationist of the Year, African Safari Club, Washington, DC
1988 — White Rose Award, Oregon’s Top Ten Women
1985 — Outstanding Young Women of America
1981 — Oregon’s Young Careerist, Business and Professional Women, for Roseburg


National and International Activities

2012 to present — Steering Committee, Natural Resource Department, Namibia University of Science and Tech.

2011 to present — Steering Committee, Greater Waterberg Complex, Namibia

2010 to present — Adjunct Professor, University of Omaha, Nebraska, USA

2008 to present — Oregon Cougar Action Team (ORCAT) Board Member

2008 to present — Panthera Cat Advisory Council Member

2001 to present — IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Core Group Member

1997 to present — Namibian Large Carnivore Management Forum

1997 to present — Conservancy Association of Namibia, Executive Committee, Vice Chair, Chair (2004-2009), current Vice Chair

1996 to present — Waterberg Conservancy, Executive Committee

1996 to present — Namibian Veterinary Association

1995 to 2001 — IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group Co-Chair

1993 to present — Namibian Professional Hunters Association, Rare Species Committee

1991 to present — IUCN/SSC, Captive Breeding Specialist Group Member

1988 to present — IUCN/SSC Conservation Specialist Group Member

1995 to present — Species Coordinator, Cheetah African Preservation Program

1988 to present — Cheetah Species Survival Plan, Propagation Committee Advisor (AZA/SSP)

1987 to present — International Cheetah Studbook Keeper

1987-1988 — Cheetah SSP, Species Coordinator

1984-1988 — Cheetah SSP, Propagation Committee

1982-1987 — North American Regional Cheetah Studbook Keeper

1977-1978 — Re-introduction Research of Cheetah in Namibia

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