International Cheetah Day

Dec 4, 2021

  • Location: Namibia, Somaliland, and United Arab Emirates
  • Venue: CCF Headquarters, Somaliland Cultural Center and Expo 2020 in Dubai

Schools, zoos, and individuals around the world join CCF every year to celebrate the species and honor the efforts to save the wild population across its range. Find out more about how you can help and download some cheetah themed education and activities.

Fewer than 7,500 cheetah remain in the wild. Help CCF spread the word and use #SaveTheCheetah on International Cheetah Day Dec. 4, 2021.

In Namibia, CCF staff will host information booths, games and learning activities to promote cheetah conservation at its Field Research & Education Centre near Otjiwarongo, the “Cheetah Capital of the World”. Visitors will have the opportunity to win fun prizes as they visit the educational booths and displays. CCF’s Cheetah Café will have special cheetah-themed treats available as well during the day. The Centre will open to the public on ICD from 09h00 -17h00 with activities taking place between 09h00 and 15h00. The regular entrance fee will be waived for day visitors, and a special rate will be offered to overnight guests at CCF’s Cheetah View Lodge.

In Hargeisa, the capital city of Somaliland,CCF will host an all-day International Cheetah Day Festival at the Hargeysa Cultural Centre (HCC). The third time CCF has marked the occasion at the HCC, this year’s celebration will feature music, dance, poetry readings and interactive talks by CCF staff about cheetahs and indigenous wildlife. The International ICD Festival will open its doors at 09h30 to show a short film documenting an awareness raising tour that Dr Marker and the Ministry of Environment and Rural Development conducted in early 2021 around stopping the illegal wildlife trade in cheetah cubs in the western regions of Somaliland. Booths offering cheetah information, games, books and merchandise will be staffed by CCF throughout the day. The last performance will take place from 20h30-22h00.

In the UAE, at the Expo 2020 in Dubai, CCF and the Dubai Safari Park will be in two pavilions – Namibia and USA.

USA Pavilion
15h30h – Changing the World to Save the Cheetah – Presentation by Frank Rietkerk, Head of Life Sciences, Dubai Safari Park

Namibia Pavilion
18h30-20h30 – ICD Reception with short talks by Frank Rietkerk of Dubai Safari Park and representatives of cheetah range countries

All ages are encouraged to attend.

Standard Expo 2020 Dubai admission policies apply.
The events for International Cheetah Day are free.

About Frank Reitkerk

Frank Rietkerk was born and raised in The Netherlands and graduated from the Veterinary School of the University of Utrecht in 1986. He worked in private practice while specialising in zoo animal medicine and in 1998, he was offered the position of Senior Veterinary Officer of the King Khalid Wildlife Research Centre north of Riyadh (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) which was managed by the Zoological Society of London. The main aim of the Centre was eradicating tuberculosis from herds of Arabian oryx, Sand and Arabian gazelles and reintroducing them in protected areas in the Kingdom. Rietkerk returned to The Netherlands in 1992, where he joined the team of the National Federation for Research in Zoological Gardens, which soon afterwards also became the office of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). He was the Head of Collection Planning and Conservation, mostly active in setting up the structure of the European Endangered species Programmes (EEPs) and linking these programmes with conservation projects in situ.
In 2000, Rietkierk became the first General Curator and in 2009 Zoological Director of Apenheul Primate Park in Apeldoorn. Managing the zoological department as well as the education, conservation and maintenance departments. He continued to be active in EAZA, joining the Executive Committee in 2009 first as Treasurer and then as Chairman of the Membership and Ethics Committee. Rietkerk also coordinated the EEPs for Gorilla and Woolly monkey, and chaired the Antelope and Giraffe TAG as well as the New World Monkey TAG. He left Apenheul in 2018, first to become General Manager of Dubai Safari Park, then Captive Breeding Manager for the Royal Commission for Al Ula in Saudi Arabia, managing their Arabian Leopard breeding centre and setting up the Arabian Leopard Fund. He returned to Dubai in 2020 and currently employed by Dubai Municipality as Head of Life Sciences of Dubai Safari Park.

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