OCTOBER 1, 2102 (Alexandria, VA) -- Dr. Laurie Marker, Founder and Executive Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), will be making two appearances in St. Louis on October 9th – a lunchtime lecture at the Saint Louis Zoo, and a fundraising event at The Racquet Club from 6-8pm.
Dr. Marker, an American, is recognized as a leading expert on cheetahs – their biology, genetics, ecology, breeding, and issues related to their conservation. She is also an extraordinarily dedicated conservationist. In 1990, Dr. Marker left her position with the Smithsonian, and moved to Namibia to found CCF so that she could work directly with cheetahs in the wild.
Dr. Marker will be at the St. Louis Zoo from 12-1pm in the “The Living World” area, speaking as part of the Zoo’s Lunchtime Wildlife Lecture Series. Admission to the lecture is free and open to the public.
Later that evening, from 6-8pm, Dr. Marker will appear at a cocktail reception benefit for CCF at The Racquet Club at 476 N. Kingshighway in St. Louis. The event, hosted by Paul Zemitzsch, Dr. Jeffrey Bonner, Virginia Busch, Marguerite Garrick and Dr. Joseph Ojile, will feature a presentation by Dr. Marker about her work in Africa. Tickets for the event are $150 per couple, with proceeds going to benefit CCF. Ticket purchases are fully tax-deductible. Call (314) 725-5628 to make reservations.
From humble beginnings interviewing local farmers for field research, Dr. Marker has built an impressive Conservation Centre that comprises 100,000 acres, a vet clinic, genetics lab, model farm with goats, sheep and cows, livestock guarding dogs, and a sanctuary housing approximately 50 orphaned or injured cheetahs.
Dr. Marker has also built successful programs that take an innovative approach to endangered species conservation -- providing assistance to the people who live alongside cheetahs so that humans and animals may thrive together. “It is not enough to simply tell people they shouldn’t kill cheetahs because they are the world’s fastest land mammal and there are less than 10,000 of them left on the whole planet. None of that matters to a goat farmer if he can’t make a living or feed his family,” says Dr. Marker.
Among the programs that Dr. Marker has created is Bushblok, a low emission, high efficiency fuel log made from processed thornbush. Producing Bushblok not only thins the invasive and detrimental thornbush and restores wildlife habitat and farmland, but also provides a renewable fuel resource for Namibians. Dr. Marker’s work with Bushblok received the Tech Museum’s Intel Prize for the Environment in 2008. At the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York in September, Dr. Marker announced that CCF would commit to expanding the Bushblok initiative in the coming year.
Dr. Marker also created the Livestock Guarding Dog program (LSGD), which breeds and trains 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 400 dogs since 1994, with about 150 dogs in service at any given time, and about 20 puppies placed every 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 farmers now are far less likely to kill or trap cheetah on their lands.
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.
Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is the global leader in research and conservation of cheetahs. It is a USA 501c3 and a Candian registered charity, with field headquarters in Namibia. CCF is dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild. CCF believes that understanding the cheetah's biology, ecology, and interactions with people are essential to conserve the cheetah in the wild. The strategy is a three-pronged process of research, conservation and education, beginning with long-term studies to understand and monitor the factors affecting the cheetah's survival. Results are used to develop conservation policies and programs. CCF works with local, national and international communities to raise awareness, communicate, and educate.
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