The fastest animals on earth are quickly going to become the fastest animals to disappear, unless we can act now to save them, says Dr. Laurie Marker, Founder of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF). Famous for their speed and agility, cheetahs are now one of Africa’s most endangered big cats. Their numbers have declined by 90% over the past 100 years, dropping from 100,000 to less than 10,000 today.
Cheetah Conservation Fund was founded in 1990, and is the first and longest-running organisation dedicated to saving the cheetah. With a unique approach that addresses the needs of both people and wildlife, CCF’s success has led Namibia – the country with the most remaining wild cheetahs and a nation that once viewed this species as worthless vermin – to proudly lay claim to the title “Cheetah Capital of the World.” From humble beginnings as a research outpost, CCF has grown into a major force in conservation, under the guidance of its founder, Dr. Laurie Marker.
The tremendous achievements of Dr. Marker were celebrated at an exclusive fund-raising dinner, held at the Mayfair Hotel. Among the key guests who attended alongside The Luxury Channel were HRH Princess Michael of Kent, the BBC’s Kate Silverton, and John Rendall, author of A Lion Called Christian. We were served Cheetah Cocktails, made with smooth Edgerton Premium Pink Gin. As we sipped our cocktails, we were treated to an original composition by pianist and wildlife photographer Matt Clarke (who later bravely offered himself as an auction prize!).
Working closely with Dr. Marker for more than 25 years are wildlife presenter and photographer duo Jonathan and Angela Scott, whose autobiography The Big Cat Man was launched on the same night. The book charts the couple’s extraordinary lives, from their beginnings in the UK to Kenya’s Masai Mara Game Reserve, together with enchanting stories of families of cheetahs and other endangered big cats. Jonathan and Angela both share Dr. Marker’s long-standing commitment to protect the future of the fastest land animal on our planet, and applauded her “crucial efforts to help save this iconic species.”
Dr. Marker herself revealed that “we’ve lost 90% of the world’s population of cheetahs in the last 100 years due to human/wildlife conflict, habitat loss and the illegal pet trade. Tragically, there are less than 7,000 remaining so we need to act fast. Addressing these threats now will help ensure that cheetahs are around on our fragile earth for the next 100 years. Without continued help from our loyal supporters, we simply wouldn’t be able to sustain this vital work.”
The evening was a huge success, raising £25,000 for Cheetah Conservation Fund and helping to increase awareness of the plight of Africa’s most endangered big cat. In total, £2 million a year is needed for the next five years in order to develop more programmes for the cheetah and its habitat but, to quote Dr. Marker, “we can, and we will, make this happen.”
For more information, go to www.cheetah.org.uk.