When Angie and Jonathan Scott invited me as their guest to the Cheetah Conservation fund-raising evening, I was delighted to attend. The evening was to help raise funds for a new Visitor and Education centre after their current one burnt down last October. This centre is essential as it welcomes both visitors, but also educates local school children about cheetah conservation.
The evening started with a lovely reception and lots of delicious canapes and drinks.
A chance to catch up with the Scotts and also to meet Dr Laurie Marker, the founder and a truly inspirational woman!
‘Dr. Laurie Marker is Founder and Executive Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF). Having worked with cheetahs since 1974, Laurie set up the not-for-profit Fund in 1990 and moved to Namibia to develop a permanent Conservation Research Centre for the wild cheetah. CCF’s groundbreaking activities are housed at their International Research and Education Centre in the main cheetah habitat of the country. In July 2000, CCF opened a field research station to the public featuring a Visitor’s Centre as well as a Cheetah Museum and Education Centre.
Dr. Marker helped develop the U.S. and international captive program, establishing the most successful captive cheetah-breeding program in North America during her 16 years (1974-1988) at Oregon’s Wildlife Safari in the USA. Laurie first came to Namibia in 1977 when she brought a captive-born, hand-raised cheetah to Namibia to determine if a cheetah must be taught to hunt or if the process was fully instinctual. This was the first-of-its-kind research to better understand if there was a chance for captive-born cheetahs to be re-introduced into the wild. Dr. Marker learned about the conflict between livestock farmers and cheetahs in Namibia, discovering that wild cheetahs needed help. For the next ten years, she continued travelling to Africa to learn more about the wild cheetah’s problems and what could be done to assist wild populations’
We were then treated to a wonderful talk by Laurie as she explained Cheetah Conservation in Namibia.
It was a frightening fact to learn that there are only 10,000 cheetahs left in the wild and there has been a 90% decline in the last 100 years.
We learnt all about the wonderful work, monitoring and the fascinating use of Scat detection dogs, trained to detect the Cheetah scat so it can be examined…….
They also use Bushnell trail cams in conjunction with this and match individuals to the scat and the genetic information. Laurie and I will be discussing their footage more and I hope to be sharing a bit more of their images in the near future!
Learning about the wonderful work Laurie and her team do is incredibly inspirational… How wonderful to know that the work you have done has really made a difference to a species… I would love to go out and do some volunteering with Laurie… maybe one day!
Jonathan Scott then took over and delivered a wonderful montage and talk all about the work he and Angie have done… their shots are incredible! Another inspirational couple….. ok, I am fully loaded up on inspiration… what an evening :o)