A century ago, 100,000 wild cheetahs roamed the Earth, yet today, fewer than 8,000 remain. At this rate of decline, the world’s fastest land mammal might disappear in the next 10 to 15 years. Please join our mission to save the cheetah by donating to Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) during Chewbaaka’s Wild Cheetah Challenge. Every gift between now and August 31st, 2017, will be matched and automatically double in size — up to $225,000. This means your gift today will create twice the impact and help save twice as many wild cheetah lives.
When I think of my great, late friend Chewbaaka, CCF’s best known cheetah ambassador and one of the most famous animal ambassadors that ever lived, I am reminded of our mission, and of how imperative it is. We must act quickly and decisively if we are to be successful. Only a few years remain before there’ll no longer be enough individuals to make saving the species possible. We owe it to Chewbaaka to fight as hard as we can.
Chewbaaka was brought to me in 1995, a 10-day-old cub, and seriously ill. His siblings had been killed by a farmer’s trap. As small and sick as he was, I had hope. I could tell he was a fighter. With round-the-clock care, some luck, and a strong will to survive, he pulled through. From this experience, we developed a deep bond that lasted his entire life. we trusted each other completely, and we became partners in the mission to save his species.
I’ve often said the first cheetah I raised, Khayam, showed me the problems facing cheetahs, and the second, Chewbaaka, showed me the solutions. As a team, Chewbaaka and I demonstrated to tens of thousands that humans and cheetahs can live together. Chewbaaka made Namibians proud of their natural heritage. He charmed schoolchildren and helped form their opinions about wildlife, and he convinced farmers who had killed cheetahs for generations to instead help protect these amazing animals.
Named in his honor, this year’s Chewbaaka’s Wild Cheetah Challenge marks the sixth anniversary of his passing. While Chewbaaka is gone, his legacy continues. Millions of people all still learn about his life from numerous television programs and wildlife documentaries in which he appeared. Earlier this year, to inspire the next generation of cheetah conservationists, I wrote and published a book for children about his life, Chewbaaka, with illustrations by Jessie Jordan.
Many remarked that Chewbaaka had a special bearing, a regal way that he carried himself, as if he was the king of CCF. In my heart, he was and will always be the king of CCF. I am deeply appreciative to the generous CCF Challengers for providing the matching funds to make Chewbaaka’s Wild Cheetah Challenge possible. Because of their incredible generosity, your gift will help CCF continue to mitigate conflict, restore habitat and educate people in Namibia while also helping us explore ways to adapt our programs to benefit remaining wild cheetah populations throughout Africa.
Friends, if we stand by and allow this magnificent creature slip into extinction, it will be the greatest regret of our lifetimes. Please give now, and give generously. Together we can save the wild cheetah.
In memory of Chewbaaka…
Dr. Laurie Marker
Founder & Executive Director