OTJIWARONGO, Namibia (18 November 2021) – Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) will mark its 11th annual International Cheetah Day (ICD) celebration Saturday, 4 December 2021, with simultaneous events in Namibia, Somaliland and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Originated in 2010 by Dr. Laurie Marker, CCF’s Founder and Executive Director, ICD raises awareness for the plight of the cheetah and rallies people from all nations to join in the efforts to conserve the species.
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.
Caption: CCF staff in Namibia at the information table in Otjiwarongo during the International Cheetah Day celebration in 2020.
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 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.
Caption: International Cheetah Day Celebration at the Hargeysa Cultural Centre in 2020 featured dance performances, an art competition, and acting performances.
In the UAE, Dr Marker will give a public talk about cheetahs for visitors at the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, “Changing the World to Save the Cheetah”. The first time CCF has celebrated ICD at a World Expo, having this talk in Dubai – the crossroads where east meets west – brings 192 nations into the conversation at once. From this world stage, Dr Marker will deliver her key message: With fewer than 7,500 cheetahs remaining in the wild — down from 100,000 a century ago — the survival of the species depends on human conservation action, and the time to act is now.
“International Cheetah Day serves to remind us that cheetah survival depends on people like you and me. Famous for being fast — cheetahs can reach speeds of up to 110km per hour in short bursts – this species is in a race against the clock, and time is running out. Cheetahs are threatened by human-wildlife conflict, habitat loss and fragmentation, and loss of prey. In East Africa, cheetah cubs are being poached to supply the illegal pet trade. Their situation is further challenged by a lack of genetic diversity, which makes the species more vulnerable to ecological and environmental changes”, said Dr Marker.
CCF also encourages educational institutions and animal organizations around the world to recognize International Cheetah Day with cheetah-themed activities and classroom lessons. Teaching and outreach materials, including a downloadable activities packet designed for elementary-aged schoolchildren and a PowerPoint presentation with notes, can be accessed through CCF’s websites www.internationalcheetahday.com and www.cheetah.org.
About International Cheetah Day
Dr Marker designated 4 December as International Cheetah Day within the IUCN in remembrance of Khayam, a cheetah she raised from a cub at Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon. Dr Marker brought Khayam to Namibia in 1977 for a pioneering research project to determine if captive-born cheetahs could be taught to hunt. Their efforts were successful and eventually the pair returned to Oregon. But during this trip, Dr Marker witnessed African farmers removing wild cheetahs from the landscape as a perceived threat to their livestock. In 1990, she launched the Cheetah Conservation Fund and relocated to Namibia to mitigate the problem of farmer-cheetah conflict. Because of her interactions with Khayam, Dr Marker dedicated her life to becoming the cheetah’s champion, and she chose Khayam’s birthday for this important honour.
Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is the global leader in research and conservation of cheetahs and dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild. CCF has created a set of integrated programmes based on its research to address threats to the cheetah and its ecosystem. Founded in 1990, CCF is an international non-profit organisation headquartered in Namibia with a field base in Somaliland. CCF is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2020, making it the longest running and most successful cheetah conservation organisation. For more information, please visit www.cheetah.org
About Dr Laurie Marker
Dr Laurie Marker is a conservation biologist recognized as one of the world’s leading cheetah experts. She began working with cheetahs at Oregon’s Wildlife Safari in 1974, and in 1977 initiated pioneering in situ research in Namibia. Dr Marker’s early work helped identify the species’ lack of genetic diversity. In Namibia, she learned that livestock farmers were killing hundreds of cheetahs annually as a perceived threat, setting the stage for her career-long research into cheetah biology, ecology, and conservation strategies to mitigate conflict. Dr Marker earned her DPhil in Zoology from the University of Oxford. She is an A.D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University and has published more than 150 peer-reviewed scientific papers and books on cheetah. Dr Marker’s awards include, E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Technology Pioneer Award (2015), Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement (2010), and TIME magazine’s Hero for the Planet.
CCF: Susan Yannetti, Cheetah Conservation Fund; firstname.lastname@example.org or +12027167756