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Dr. Laurie Marker, Cheetah Conversation Fund Founder, Set to Embark on 25th Anniversary Tour of U.S.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 17, 2015) – Dr. Laurie Marker, Founder and Executive Director of Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), will travel from her organization’s field headquarters in Namibia to the U.S. later this week to embark on a six-week tour to raise funds and awareness for the plight of the cheetah, Africa’s most endangered big cat. Founded in 1990, CCF marks its milestone 25th anniversary in July, making CCF the longest-running cheetah conservation program in existence. CCF has grown over the past 25 years from a rural research outpost into a world-class research, education and conservation institution with collaborative partners throughout the world’s cheetah-range countries.
Dr. Marker will appear at a variety of venues in 17 cities across the country, including Washington, District of Columbia; New York; Indianapolis; Oklahoma City; Houston, Texas; Denver, Colorado; San Jose, Calif.; Sacramento; San Francisco; Santa Barbara; Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.; Palm Springs, Calif.; San Diego; Los Angeles, and Sherman Oaks, Calif. Dr. Marker will begin her 25th Anniversary Spring Tour with an appearance at the International Conservation Caucus Foundation Gala March 19 honoring His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. She will be available to meet with media and give interviews about her work in each of the cities on this tour.
Dr. Marker is a zoologist, research scientist and conservation biologist considered to be one of the world’s leading experts on the cheetah and human-wildlife conflict mitigation. Earning her DPhil at Oxford University, she has spent more than 40 years in the field studying cheetah biology, genetics, ecology and socio-economic issues related to conservation. She began her career at Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon, in 1974 where she started the most successful captive cheetah-breeding program in North America before becoming the Executive Director of the New Opportunities in Animal Health Sciences at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo. She is credited with successfully mitigating conflict between farmers and cheetahs in Namibia, saving the lives of hundreds of cheetahs and other large carnivores with innovative, non-lethal predator control strategies, which include the use of the now-popular livestock guarding dog and the advancement of communal and commercial conservancies.
“The cheetah is a beautiful, majestic creature famous for its ability to reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour in short bursts while hunting on the open savanna. I am very excited to be talking with people in the U.S. about how we can ensure this unique species survives for future generations,” said Dr. Marker. “We must come together now if the cheetah is to have hope for a future.” The cheetah is Africa’s most endangered big cat, with only an estimated 10,000 remaining in the wild.
Under the leadership of Dr. Marker, CCF has become a driving force in conservation, recognized for applying a science-based, holistic approach that carefully balances the needs of both people and wildlife sharing ecosystems. Dr. Marker is a recipient of the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, The Tech Museum’s Intel Environmental Prize, and a two-time finalist for the prestigious Indianapolis Prize. She was named a Hero for the Planet by Time magazine and has been featured in Smithsonian, National Geographic and Discover, as well as national television shows, including “The Tonight Show,” “Good Morning America” and “Today.”