Charity Navigator is a nonprofit organization that objectively analyzes the financial health, accountability and transparency of American charities. In order to help donors make more informed choices, Charity Navigator assigns ratings to nonprofits based on a scale of performance over a set list of criteria.
Charity Navigator has awarded only the most fiscally responsible organizations a 4-star rating and only a quarter of charities rated by Charity Navigator receive the honor. 2018 is the third consecutive year that Cheetah Conservation Fund has earned this top distinction! This adds CCF to a preeminent group of charities working to overcome the world’s most pressing challenges. Based on our 4-star rating, CCF’s donors can trust that their contributions are going to a financially responsible and ethical charity.
Attaining a 4-star rating verifies that CCF exceeds industry standards. Only 21% of the charities evaluated by Charity Navigator receive at least 3 consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that CCF outperforms most other charities in America.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 13, 2018) – Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) Founder and Executive Director Dr. Laurie Marker will launch a six-week tour with public and private speaking engagements in the U.S. with back-to-back events in Denver and Aspen, Colorado, on March 13 and 14, 2018. The theme of this year’s tour is “Disappearing Spots.” The theme refers to the 2016 landmark cheetah population study co-authored by Dr. Marker that identified the species’ swift decline and estimated the remaining population to be just 7,100 – down from 100,000 a century ago.
Traveling from her CCF Field Research and Education Centre in Namibia, Dr. Marker will talk about the plight of the cheetah and threats the species faces in the wild. Problems like human-wildlife conflict, habitat loss and loss of prey, and illegal trafficking have made the cheetah the most endangered big cat in Africa. Dr. Marker will also speak about her life’s work, including the research, education and highly successful conservation programs of CCF that helped make Otjiwarongo, the town where CCF is based, the “Cheetah Capital of the World.” Dr. Marker’s most recent publication, CHEETAHS: Biology and Conservation, a comprehensive textbook she co-authored and co-edited, will be available for purchase at all tour dates, with a portion of proceeds supporting cheetah conservation. By increasing public awareness of the cheetah’s situation, Dr. Marker believes people can make all the difference and help the world’s fastest land mammal outrun extinction.
Spring 2018 U.S. Tour (CCF SoCal Dates):
March 13 – Denver, Colorado
March 14 – Aspen, Colorado
March 17 – San Francisco, California
March 21 – Palm Springs, California
March 22 and 23 – Dallas, Texas
March 24 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
March 25 and 26 – St. Louis, Missouri
March 27 – Seabrook, South Carolina
March 28 and 29 – Washington, D.C.
March 31 – Monterey, California
April 3 – Palo Alto, California
April 4 – San Francisco, California
April 5 – San Jose, California
April 6 – San Francisco, California
April 8, 9 and 10 – Los Angeles, California
April 12 and 13 – San Diego, California
April 15 – Seattle, Washington
April 16 and 17 – Portland, Oregon
April 18, 19 and 20 – San Francisco Bay Area
April 21 – Redwood City, California (WCN Spring Expo)
Dr. Marker is available for media interviews while traveling on her tour, and media are invited to attend her presentations. Please inquire for details.
Cheetah Conservation Fund Leadership Travels to the Horn of Africa to Address Wildlife Trafficking Threat
ADDIS ABABA – 7 March 2018 – Dr Laurie Marker, Founder and Executive Director of Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), and Assistant Director for Illegal Wildlife Trade, Patricia Tricorache, travelled from Namibia to Ethiopia and Somaliland during the first week of March. The two held a series of meetings with local government officials and wildlife organisations to discuss the illegal trade in cheetahs. Ethiopia and Somaliland, an autonomous region of Somalia, are areas of concern due to the high numbers of cheetahs smuggled through these countries into the Arabian Peninsula to supply the illegal pet trade.
In Somaliland, Marker and Tricorache met with the Minister of Environment and Rural Development, Hon. Shukri H. Ismail, and her staff. During three days of meetings, they discussed progress being made on strategies devised in April 2017, which include awareness campaigns, capacity building for law enforcement, and the development of a sanctuary to shelter confiscated wildlife. They also met with the Dean and Faculty of University of Hargeisa’s College of Agriculture, Veterinary and Animal Science, to assess the school’s expertise and laboratory facilities. The two organisations agreed to collaborate on emergency care for confiscated animals. They also identified areas where additional training is needed.
In Ethiopia, the pair met with Director General Kumara Wakjira Gemeda of the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA) and representatives from the US Department of State’s Regional Environmental Office for East Africa. The meeting coincided with EWCA’s celebration of World Wildlife Day, and culminated with a ceremony to mark the occasion. Director General Gemeda emphasised the importance of Ethiopia’s mandate to conserve its rich wildlife and affirmed his office’s commitment. Posters developed by the U.S. Regional Environmental Office were presented to attendees. The posters, developed in collaboration with CCF, depicted images of cheetahs and included messages in Somali language relevant to the illegal cheetah trade.
CCF began working with EWCA and the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa when it began its efforts to combat the trafficking of live cheetah cubs out of the Horn of Africa in 2005. Since then, a larger coalition of government entities and international NGOs have joined their efforts.
“Encouraging cooperation between the areas in the Horn of Africa along the trafficking route into the Arabian Peninsula is a crucial element of our work. We are grateful to the governments of Ethiopia and Somaliland for their active involvement in these efforts”, said Dr Marker. “It is important to remember that live animals poached for the illegal trade are in most cases unable to return to the wild, and thus, they cannot contribute to conservation of their species. Although their images do not generate the same emotional reaction as those of elephants and rhinos killed by poachers, the impact of their loss is felt just as much”.
Since 2005, in Ethiopia and Somaliland, over 50 cheetahs have been confiscated from poachers and smugglers, along with many other wild species. Currently, CCF associates in Somaliland are caring for more than 30 animals confiscated by regional wildlife officers, including three cheetahs and five caracals. The centre is phase one of a longer-term effort to house confiscated cheetahs. which requires a larger investment to provide appropriate enclosures, specialized care and round-the-clock security. For more information or to donate to the project, please visit www.cheetah.org.
OTJIWARONGO, NAMIBIA (2 March 2018) — Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), the leading organisation dedicated to long-term cheetah survival, is pleased to join the United Nations and many other organisations around the globe in marking Saturday, 3 March as the 6th Annual World Wildlife Day. A day dedicated to wildlife and intended to bring attention to the plight of wild animals on our planet, this year’s theme is “Big cats: predators under threat”.
“Cheetahs, just like lions, tigers, leopards and jaguars, are facing multiple threats to survival. But cheetahs are the most endangered of all big cat species in Africa, and they are disappearing at an alarming rate”, said Dr Laurie Marker, Founder and Executive Director of CCF. “Over the last century, we’ve lost more than 90-percent of the world’s wild cheetah. If we don’t do something now, cheetahs could become extinct during our lifetimes”.
In Namibia and in many other parts of Africa, cheetahs are threatened by conflict, habitat loss, loss of prey, poaching and the illegal trade. Most of the problems are caused by human activities. To counter, CCF has developed a holistic approach to conservation, considering the needs of people, livestock and wildlife sharing the landscape. In Namibia, CCF’s programmes help people and wildlife co-exist.
Education Can Make the Difference
CCF deploys a range of programmes to successfully conserve cheetah, utilising tactics rooted in science and data supplied by its own research teams. CCF’s Future Farmers of Africa trains Namibian men and women in integrated livestock-wildlife rangeland management. The course develops rural livelihoods by training farmers in how to best manage their rangeland, livestock and wildlife to reduce conflict with predators. CCF instructors explain how to increase profits by providing livestock with basic veterinary care and how to protect cattle during calving seasons. To reduce conflict, CCF places CCF Livestock Guarding Dogs with farmers to serve as non-lethal predator control tools. Farmers with CCF dogs are less likely to have conflict with cheetahs, and they report a decrease in predation losses ranging over 80 percent.
Each year, thousands of young learners are impacted by CCF’s Future Conservationists of Africa presentations offered in schools and onsite at its Field Research and Education Centre near Otjiwarongo. By teaching students about wild species from a young age, they are more likely to grow up and become conservationists and stewards of wildlife.
CCF also builds capacity in rural communities, training residents to become eco-tourism guides and artisans that produce hand-crafted jewellery and art to sell to tourists. By educating people and proving economic value in having wild cheetahs as part of the landscape, CCF has helped reduce the decline of cheetahs in Namibia to human wildlife conflict. However, the cheetah population is still on the decline due to a variety of factors including habitat loss and fragmentation and conflict with larger predators in the landscape.
“World Wildlife Day 2018 provides an opportunity to raise awareness for the plight of the cheetah and rally people’s support for this iconic big cat. I invite everyone to visit CCF to learn more about the cheetah and the programmes we’ve developed to help save them. We hope you will join us in the fight to save the cheetah, so we all can enjoy this majestic creature for generations to come”, said Dr Marker.
CCF has several publications for people who want to learn more about the species, including Chewbaaka, an illustrated children’s book; A Future for Cheetahs, a coffee table book with text by Dr Marker and photos by wildlife photographer Suzi Eszterhas; and CHEETAHS: Biology & Conservation, a comprehensive textbook co-authored and co-edited by Dr Marker and a team of international researchers.
Alexandria, VA. (December 4, 2017) — With fewer than 8,000 living cheetahs in the wild, it is critical to raise awareness of the declining numbers of this amazing species. Beginning December 4, 2017, the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) offers you a chance to interact with the majestic cheetah for a thrilling and safe visit in honor of International Cheetah Day.
Using iPhone 6s running iOS 11.1 and newer, and iPads made in 2017, you can conjure and interact with a realistic, responsive cheetah in real time without endangering yourself or the animal. This cutting-edge augmented reality experience uses the magic of Apple’s ARKit to create the illusion that you’re sharing a physical space with this endangered creature, and the formidable cat will interact with you based on real cheetah behavior.
If you observe from afar, the artificial intelligence in your virtual cheetah will behave as if no one is watching. Although it’s unwise to approach a live cheetah in the wild, your courage may insist that you creep closer for a better look. Consider yourself warned: if you get too close, this apex predator may become uncomfortable and aggressively defend itself. For an even greater thrill, turn out the lights and see cunning, shining eyes sizing you up from the darkness. If you leave the creature alone and back off as nature intended, the cheetah will relax and exhibit its natural behaviors.
“Neo-Pangea and Element X worked together to simulate a living, breathing cheetah so people can experience these amazing cats without disturbing them in their natural habitat,” said Brett Bagenstose, creative director and Baron of Pixels at NeoPangea. “Using augmented reality, we can protect the cheetah from unpredictable human interaction and cut down on the demand for stressful nature tourism and the illegal pet trade.”
To share your support for these endangered cats, snap photos or videos of the cheetah’s adventures in whatever setting you choose and share them with the world via social media using #SaveTheCheetah. You can also learn fun facts about the cheetah, explore the challenges it faces today, and donate to the CCF from within the app.
Download this free app now on iTunes and be ready to celebrate International Cheetah Day on December 4 with a lifelike guest of honor! For more information about the Cheetah Conservation Fund, visit www.cheetah.org.
Cheetah Conservation Fund and Association of Zoos and Aquariums Lead Celebration of 7th Annual international Cheetah Day, December 4th
“With fewer than 8,000 remaining in the wild, International Cheetah Day serves to remind us that cheetahs, like all wildlife, are creatures whose survival depends on human conservation action,” said Dr. Laurie Marker, Founder and Executive Director of CCF. “We must act now or we could lose the cheetah during our lifetimes. Once an animal is gone, it is gone forever. Inspiring the next generation of research scientists, ecologists and zoologists through education and awareness efforts like International Cheetah Day is necessary to prevent this amazing creature from suffering the fate of extinction.”
CCF and AZA are encouraging zoos and schools around the world to help spark young people’s interest in conservation by recognizing 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.org and ww.cheetah.org. Cheetah photos, videos and social media links are also available for download.
“Families can visit their local AZA-accredited facility to learn about the species and its plight and see these popular big cats up close,” said Dan Ashe, President and CEO of AZA. “AZA members take very seriously their obligation to support cheetah conservation efforts, investing nearly$950,000 over the past five years in conservation projects and educating thousands of zoo visitors about the threats cheetahs face. In addition, through AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE), AZA members are working with a number of organizations like Cheetah Conservation Fund to enhance their mission and generate awareness for the need to save the species. AZA members are proud to support International Cheetah Day.”
The two organizations offer suggestions for ways people can join in the International Cheetah Day celebration:
Dr. Marker is an internationally recognized expert on the cheetah. She designated Dec. 4 as International Cheetah Day in remembrance of Khayam, a cheetah she raised from a cub at Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon. Dr. Marker brought Khayam to Namibia 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. In 1990, she launched CCF and relocated to the newly-formed nation 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 honor.
Researchers Convene at Symposium to Conduct a Conservation Assessment of Namibia’s Carnivores, to produce a Red Data Book on Carnivores in Namibia
Windhoek – (27 November 2017) – From 8th – 10th of November, researchers from across Namibia convened at B2Gold’s Otjikoto Nature Reserve and Environmental Centre to conduct an assessment of the conservation status of Namibia’s carnivore species. This symposium represented the first step in the compiling of a Namibian Carnivore Red Data Book. Coordinated by the Large Carnivore Association of Namibia (LCMAN), the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) and the Namibian Chamber of Environment (NCE), the symposium was facilitated by Dr. Chris Brown, CEO of the NCE and sponsored by B2Gold.
Over 20 people were in attendance at the Symposium and presentations were given on each of the 34 carnivore species that occur in Namibia. In addition to MET and NCE, the Symposium was attended by representatives from the University of Namibia (UNAM), LCMAN member organizations including Namibian nongovernmental organisations and carnivore researchers, environmental scientists, farmers, and private individuals demonstrated the wide breadth of knowledge concerning the distribution of Namibia’s carnivores, as well as highlighted research gaps. Additional anthropogenic threats, information on species ranges, population trends, data sources, and conservation actions were discussed.
“This is the first time that this type of process has been conducted for Namibia’s carnivores” according to Dr. Laurie Marker, LCMAN Chair. “It was a very important process to undertake, as carnivore ranges continue to shift and change with the interactions of humans’ land use and other aspects of wildlife management in the country.”
Species leads and team members were identified and agreed upon among attendants, who will share data between themselves to create historical, past, and current distribution maps and compile species accounts for the Namibian Carnivore Red Data Book. Distribution maps of the 34 species on Namibian carnivores, ranging from 9 species of mongoose, 2 otter species, 3 species of genets, and a variety of the large and smaller carnivores will be compiled from expert data and knowledge by Alice Jarvis from JARO Consultancy, who manages the countries web-based Environmental Information service (EIS). The book will be compiled by the various species’ teams, edited by John Pallett, and is slated to be completed by August 2018.
“Bringing all the carnivore specialists and relevant organisations together to assess the conservation status of carnivores in Namibia, to identify threats and to develop a carnivore conservation action plan that considers relevant socio-economic issues is an important step in preparing integrated, cost effective management, research and monitoring approaches for carnivores in Namibia” said Dr Chris Brown. “This must lead on to ever closer collaboration between all the individuals and organisations, as good scientifically-based management is vital in the face of emotive armchair conservationists on social media.
OTJIWARONGO, NAMIBIA (Nov. 27, 2017) — Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) will lead the 7th annual celebration of International Cheetah Day with special activities at its Centre in Otjiwarongo this weekend. On both Saturday, 3 December, and Sunday, 4 December (International Cheetah Day), the admission fee is waived for Namibians, presenting the ideal opportunity for families to tour the world-renown facilities and observe cheetah feedings free of charge.
To enhance the experience, CCF will offer a variety of educational and interactive activities beginning at 11 a.m. each day. Information booths will be set up at various places around the Centre displaying tools such as camera traps and satellite collars that CCF Ecologists use in their work, with staff members available to explain their use. Visitors can meet some of CCF’s Livestock Guarding Dogs at another exhibit or learn about the process of predator identification, also known as “Kill I.D.”, at another. There will be a crafts table for children where they can make their own cheetah mask. Cheetah feedings will take place at 1200h both days. The Cheetah Café in the Visitor Centre will offer a variety of special treats to help make the occasion a true holiday.
“International Cheetah Day is a wonderful opportunity to learn about the cheetah and to have some fun with the entire family”, said Dr Laurie Marker, Founder and Executive Director of CCF. “The cheetah is a very special animal — the world’s fastest land mammal – and Namibia is a very special place! We are famous for being the ‘Cheetah Capital of the World.’ On 4 December, we honour this amazing big cat, and we hope you will come here and join us”.
The Cheetah Conservation Fund is located 45 km from the town of Otjiwarongo on the D2440 road. CCF facilities are open every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. except 25 December. The Centre hosts community members and school groups from Namibia as well as international tourists and groups from all over the world. For more information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.cheetah.org.
Educational materials, including CCF’s Conservation Passport, Activity Packet, cheetah photos, videos and social media links can be downloaded for free at www.cheetah.org/international-cheetah-day/ or www.internationalcheetahday.org
Paloma Russ is not a newcomer to cheetah conservation. She has been working with CCF to help save Africa’s most endangered big cat for many years. In the past she has raised money with lemonade stands and bake sales, and she currently makes and sells greeting cards featuring her original artwork and donates the proceeds to CCF. Paloma has given presentations to her school and the local 4-H program in Marin County, California, and has volunteered with CCF at events such as Earth Day at the Oakland Zoo and the Wildlife Conservation Network Expo in San Francisco.
According to Paloma, she became inspired to get involved in the fight to save the cheetah when she was just three-years-old. This early desire morphed into action after she met Dr. Laurie Marker, CCF’s Founder and Executive Director, at Safari West in Santa Rosa, California.
“When I was three, I saw a movie about African cats and I thought cheetahs were really cool. It said the population was dropping below 10,000 and that made me upset. I decided I wanted to help keep cheetahs around, because they are in trouble, and because I wanted to see one in person,” said Paloma. “At my event last October, my dream came true! We had Themba, an ambassador cheetah from The Wild Cat Education & Conservation Fund in Occidental, California, make an appearance to help people understand more about the species. This was my favorite part of the event. It was awesome to see how interested people are in the cheetah!”
“We are thrilled when amazing young people like Paloma step forward and take on a very mature responsibility like fundraising. Not only are her actions inspiring, they give us hope that the work of CCF will be sustainable over future generations,” said Dr. Marker. “Paloma is a hero for the cheetah.”
Since 2003, AFN has recognized more than 150 young people from over 20 countries and 25 U.S. states. Awarded annually, recipients of the International Young Eco-Hero Award are selected by a panel of independent judges, including experts in environmental science, biology and education.
“It makes me so happy to know I’m inspiring other kids to take action and help save endangered animals and take care of the environment,” added Paloma.
AFN is an international non-profit organization based in San Francisco, California, that encourages young people to nurture a love and respect for Earth’s natural resources and to take personal action to better their environments. Paloma received her award at a ceremony held at Google corporate headquarters in Mountain View on September 16, 2017.
Washington, D.C. (Oct. 12, 2017) — Aruna Gauba, a thirteen-year-old student from northern California, and Dr. Laurie Marker, Founder and Executive Director of Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), have published a new biography detailing Marker’s early life and 40-plus year career dedicated to cheetah conservation, The Cheetah Lady. The official launch will take place at the Wildlife Conservation Expo (WCN) on October 14, 2017, in San Francisco, and the book will be for available for purchase at CCF events for $20.00. All proceeds from sales will benefit CCF’s program to save the wild cheetah.
The inspiring collaboration between Aruna and Dr. Marker began when the pair met three years ago when the budding author was just 10 years-old. Living in the San Francisco Bay area, Aruna and her mother, Savitha Narayanan, regularly attend the annual WCN Expo where Aruna is a familiar, energetic presence. In 2015, she approached Dr. Marker with the suggestion of collaborating on a biography.
“I was introduced to Dr. Laurie Marker in a book, Chasing Cheetahs, and then I read more about her on a CCF website for kids. I met her for the first time at the Expo and was very excited because she has done so much work to preserve my favorite animal, the cheetah. She inspired me to get involved in fundraising,” said Aruna.
Like most girls her age, Aruna enjoys playing games — she is a chess standout –and socializing with friends at her school, the Khan Lab School in Mountain View, California, but unlike most others, she is already the author of two books to help raise money for cheetah conservation (her earlier work was a biography on Rebecca Klein of Cheetah Conservation Botswana, CCF’s sister program). What motivates such a young girl to take on such ambitious projects? According to Aruna, many people around the world are inspired by this magnificent big cat, but very few have dedicated their entire lives to help save them from extinction like Dr. Marker.
The Cheetah Lady tells the story of how Dr. Marker became a conservationist in 50 pages. The book includes many photos of Dr. Marker from childhood through the present and a timeline of milestone events in her life. The introduction is by Dr. Bruce Brewer, CCF’s General Manager. The book is intended for young readers, to reach them with messages about the importance of biodiversity and conservation in maintaining a healthy planet.
“Engaging young learners about conservation is a key strategy in CCF’s mission to save the wild cheetah from extinction, and I’ve often said we need to raise an army of conservationists if we hope to save the species. Collaborating with Aruna to create this book was a unique opportunity and one that is very special to me,” said Dr. Marker. “I predict she will become a leader in this movement as she grows up. She is one to keep an eye on.”