FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Liz Georges, Communications Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org, (703) 402-5354
Dr. Laurie Marker, Leading Cheetah Expert and Innovative Conservationist, Tours North America Sept. 18 – Oct. 27
August 21, 2013 (Alexandria, VA) — Dr. Laurie Marker, Founder and Executive Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) and a leading expert on cheetahs, will be making public appearances at several venues around the United States and Canada from September 18 through October 27, including Washington, DC; Monterey, CA; Portland, OR; Santa Rosa, CA; Columbus, OH; Toronto, ON; Oklahoma City, OK; and Chicago, IL.
Dr. Marker will arrive in the United States on September 18th, to receive the International Conservation Caucus Foundation’s prestigious “Good Steward” award during ICCF’s 2013 U.S. Congressional International Conservation Gala at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium in Washington, DC. The award is presented annually to recognize outstanding individual leadership in conservation. Past recipients of ICCF awards include former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Prime Minister of Norway Jens Stoltenberg, Ed Norton, and Harrison Ford, among others.
While in the United States, Dr. Marker will attend three CCF fundraising galas – in Portland, Chicago and Washington, DC. Each of the Galas will feature a keynote address from Dr. Marker and an appearance by an ambassador cheetah – a cheetah that has been raised in close contact with humans and for the purpose of making educational appearances. Dr. Marker will also be making a special appearance with an ambassador cheetah at the Explorer’s Club’s Lowell Thomas Dinner in Washington, DC on October 25 in Washington, DC. Dr. Marker is an Explorer’s Club member and one of the 2010 recipients of the Lowell Thomas Award, for which the dinner is named. Dr. Marker will be available for media appearances and interviews at every stop along her tour. Please contact CCF Communications Coordinator, Liz Georges at (703) 402-5354 to schedule an interview.
Dr. Marker’s innovative approach to endangered species conservation addresses all parts of the cheetah’s ecosystem, including human populations, and challenges traditional ideas about the interplay between conservation and economic development. “Cheetahs generally don’t live in protected areas. They live side by side with human communities. If you work to secure the livelihoods of the farmers living alongside the cheetah, you can secure a future for the cheetah as a species as well. Humans and large predators can live and thrive together, and our programming demonstrates that,” says Dr. Marker.
Dr. Marker pioneered the use of livestock guarding dogs in Africa, breeding and training Anatolian shepherd and Kangal dogs to protect local herds so that farmers are not threatened by the presence of cheetahs on their land. CCF has placed nearly 450 dogs since 1994, with about 150 dogs in service at any given time, and will have placed over 40 puppies by the end of this year. Farmers who use a CCF dog to guard their livestock report a drop in predation rate of anywhere between 80 to 100 percent, and these farmers now are far less likely to kill or trap cheetah on their lands.
Dr. Marker also created Bushblok, a low emission, high efficiency fuel log made from processed thornbush. Namibia’s farmlands are choked with thornbush, which not only reduces the available range lands for cheetahs, but the potential farmlands for Namibians. Dr. Marker’s work with Bushblok received the Tech Museum’s Intel Prize for the Environment in 2008 and was one of only 12 finalists of the prestigious 2009 BBC World Challenge.
From humble beginnings interviewing local farmers for field research, Dr. Marker has built an impressive International Field Research and Education Centre that comprises 100,000 acres, a vet clinic, genetics lab, model farm with goats, sheep and cows, livestock guarding dogs, and approximately 50 orphaned or injured cheetahs.
Dr. Laurie 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 magazine as well as on numerous television shows, including The Tonight Show, Good Morning America and the Today Show.
Founded in Namibia (Africa) in 1990, Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is the global leader in research and conservation of cheetahs. CCF is dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild. CCF’s Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Laurie Marker, an American biologist, is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on cheetah biology, ecology and conservation and has developed CCF’s conservation strategy, which has contributed to increasing the wild cheetah population in Namibia by ~50%. CCF’s long-term studies analyse and monitor the factors affecting the cheetah’s survival in the wild, and results are used to develop conservation policies and education programmes that have reached over 300,000 people. CCF is a registered non-profit in Namibia, Canada, UK and the US, where it is listed as a “Four Star Charity” by Charity Navigator, which recognises sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency. People can learn more about CCF or make a donation to the organisation by visiting www.cheetah.org.