TILBURG, Nederland (3 December 2020) – To increase worldwide support for the world’s wild cheetah population, Cheetah Conservation Fund (‘CCF’) today announced the launch of a new foundation, Stichting Cheetah Conservation Fund Nederland (‘CCF NL’). The organisation is being led by CCF Founder and Executive Director, Dr Laurie Marker; Dr Jacques Kaandorp, a highly respected wildlife veterinarian, television personality and cheetah advocate; and Michiel Mak, an international energy executive with extensive experience in Africa and a strong passion for cheetahs in East Africa.
CCF NL will generate awareness for the main threats to cheetah survival: human-wildlife conflict, habitat loss and the illegal wildlife trade, with the purpose of raising funds for research into these threats and for CCF conservation programmes that mitigate them. Despite the ubiquitous and undeniable appeal of this spotted big cat, worldwide population numbers are down from 100,000 a century ago to less than 7,500 today. CCF NL becomes the newest entity in the CCF global structure to focus attention on the cheetah’s swift decline. CCF NL will start sponsoring CCF’s renowned Field Research & Education Centre in Otjiwarongo, Namibia, and a large project CCF has undertaken addressing the illegal wildlife trade in cheetahs in Hargeisa, Somaliland.
“As a young boy in Amsterdam seeking nature experiences, I discovered my first cheetah climbing over park fences at the Artis Zoo. I was immediately captivated. From then on, I knew I wanted to work with these animals”, said Dr Jacques Kaandorp, who fulfilled this early aspiration. “I am pleased to continue advocating for this species, which needs our support to survive extinction”.
Kaandorp administered the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) for cheetahs, part of a population management programme for animals of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). At the end of 2019, he retired after 40 years as Director and Veterinarian of Safaripark Beekse Bergen and turned over responsibilities to his wife, Christine, a wildlife veterinarian who now cares for the park’s animals in Hilvarenbeek. Dr Christine Kaandorp conducted her MSc research on cheetahs in Otjiwarongo, Namibia, where CCF is based.
Complimenting Kaandorp’s contributions to CCF NL, Michiel Mak is an International Energy Executive who was born and raised in Ethiopia and grew up appreciating African wildlife. “Nothing is more beautiful and elegant than seeing a cheetah running through an African grass plain”. Mak brings his international business perspective to the new organisation along with his insight into the illegal wildlife trade. Mak is eager to fight the negative impacts of the pet trade on the species, to have future generations also admire and fall in love with the cheetah in Africa.
Since 2005, CCF has been monitoring and researching the illegal wildlife trade in cheetahs. CCF research indicates that ~300 cubs are taken from the landscape in the Horn of Africa each year to supply the illegal pet trade, mainly going to the Middle East. In 2017, CCF established facilities in Hargeisa, Somaliland, to house cheetahs intercepted from the illegal wildlife trade. Today, CCF feeds, exercises and provides veterinary care for 59 orphan cheetahs in Hargeisa, many of which have serious, chronic health conditions resulting from nutritional issues after their time in captivity with traffickers.
“We need to have wild cheetahs, because they are such an important animal in the ecosystem”, said Mak. “I am glad to be in a position that I can put my professional skills and connections to such good use, to travel to Somaliland and Ethiopia and to help create CCF Nederland with Drs Kaandorp and Marker”.
“CCF is very excited to be working with such a passionate, talented team of cheetah conservationists and experts in The Netherlands”, said Dr Laurie Marker, CCF Founder and Executive Director. “By working together, we can extend our international networks and amplify CCF’s impact throughout range states. Clever collaborations are how we will help the cheetah win its race for survival through these most challenging circumstances”.
CCF NL obtained its ANBI status on 19 February 2020. For more information about the foundation or to make a donation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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About Cheetah Conservation Fund
Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is the global leader in research and conservation of cheetahs and dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild. Founded in 1990, CCF is an international non-profit organisation headquartered in Namibia with more than 30 years of experience working on the ground in Africa. CCF supports cheetahs by addressing its primary threats, farmer-carnivore conflicts, habitat loss along with loss of prey, and the illegal wildlife trade. CCF works in cheetah range states to develop solutions to conservation issues based on its own research. CCF develops and deploys strategies to restore and maintain ecosystem balance, taking a large landscape approach to its conservation activities.
Set on 67,000 hectares in north-central Namibia, the CCF Centre manages a wildlife reserve, Model Farm, and an open-to-the-public research institution. CCF administers conservation programs based on its research into genetics; biology; ecology; health and reproduction; human impact; and species survival.
Thousands of people from all over the world travel to the CCF Centre to experience the world’s fastest feline in its natural habitat and interact with its scientists. It is here where many of CCF’s rangeland management techniques and non-lethal predator control tools for farmers are developed and tested. Because of CCF’s three decades of success, Namibia proudly claims Otjiwarongo to be ‘Cheetah Capital of the World’.
American zoologist and researcher Dr Laurie Marker is the Founder and Executive Director of CCF. She is recognised as one of the foremost experts in cheetah biology, genetics, ecology and human wildlife conflict mitigation. Dr Marker sits on the Executive Committee of the Cat Specialist Group of the IUCN/SSC, and maintains the International Cheetah Studbook, a registry that catalogues the world’s captive population. Dr Marker has received numerous awards for her work with CCF and cheetahs, including the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, the Eleanor Roosevelt Val Kill Medal, and the Explorers Club 2020 President’s Award.
For more information about CCF, please visit www.cheetah.org.
Dr Laurie Marker, email@example.com or +264 81 124 7887
Susan Yannetti, firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 202 716 7756