"Saving Africa’s Most Endangered Big Cat"

"Conservationists in Namibia have found the fate of people and cheetahs are closely intertwined — and so are solutions to help both."

"Today we know a good bit about cheetahs: They’re the fastest land animal, going from 0 to 60 mph in three seconds. They’re expert hunters, although they often lose their prey to bigger predators. And they also face big threats, occupying just 9% of their historic range. But when Dr. Laurie Marker first began working with the animals in the early 1970s, many people didn’t even know if they were a dog or a cat.

“They’ve got dog-like claws,” she explains. “I think that confused all the farmers.”

Marker has dedicated her career to closing that knowledge gap. She began working with cheetahs in 1974 at the Wildlife Safari, a wildlife park in Oregon, which included trips to South West Africa (now Namibia) to research the rewilding of cheetahs born in captivity. During her time there she realized that farmers were killing hundreds of cheetahs a year to protect their herds, and some of the world’s last remaining cheetah populations could be lost.

So in 1990 she moved to Namibia and launched the Cheetah Conservation Fund, an organization that does research, education and conservation to help secure a future for wild cheetahs and support surrounding communities."

Tara Lohan reports for The Revelator February 14, 2024.


Source: The Revelator, 02/20/2024