Dr Laurie Marker

Cheetah Conservation Fund

Can cheetahs and wildlife ranchers ever live in co-existence?

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.

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 to conduct cheetah research and learned about the conflict between livestock farmers and cheetahs in Namibia. For the next ten years, she continued traveling to Africa to learn more about the wild cheetah’s problems and what could be done to assist wild populations.

In the early 1980’s, with collaborators at the National Zoo and National Cancer Institute (USA), Dr. Marker helped identify the cheetah’s lack of genetic variation, thus causing the species greater problems for survival. In 1988, in collaboration with these two institutions she became the Executive Director of the Centre for New Opportunities in Animal Health Sciences, based at Smithsonian Institution’s Nation al Zoo. She continues to serve as a NOAHS Research Fellow. In 1996 she was made a vice-chair of the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN) Species Survival Commission’s (SSC) Cat Specialist Group and now serves as a member on the core management group. In 2002, Laurie received her doctorate from Oxford University, England and has received numerous awards including the 2010 Tyler Prize and in 2015 the E.O. Wilson Environmental Conservation Award as well as the Eleonore Roosevelt Val Kil Award. The Cheetah Conservation Fund last year celebrated its 25th anniversary and is a recognized center of excellent for research and education.