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EOU file photo / Laurie Marker, Ph.D., gave a presentation on campus when she was named Distinguished Alumna in 2013.
July 21, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Laurie Marker, Ph.D., founder and executive director of Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), is traveling from her organization’s field headquarters in Namibia to the U.S. for her fall tour to raise funds and awareness for the plight of the cheetah, Africa’s most endangered big cat.
Founded in 1990, CCF marks its milestone 25th anniversary in July, making CCF the longest-running cheetah conservation program in existence. It has grown from a rural research outpost into a world-class research, education and conservation institution with collaborative partners throughout the world’s cheetah-range countries.
During her tour, Marker will appear at a variety of venues in cities across the country, including The Oregon Zoo in Portland.
“Big Cat. Big Party”
October 4, 5 p.m.
The Oregon Zoo
4001 SW Canyon Rd.
As a zoologist, research scientist and conservation biologist, Marker is considered to be one of the world’s leading experts on the cheetah and human-wildlife conflict mitigation. After graduating from Eastern Oregon University’s distance education program in 1990, she sold everything she owned to start CCF in Namibia. She went on to earn a doctorate from Oxford University in England and has spent more than 40 years in the field studying cheetah biology, genetics, ecology and socio-economic issues related to conservation.
EOU named her a Distinguished Alumna in 2013.
Marker began her career at Wildlife Safari in Winston, Ore., in 1974 where she started the most successful captive cheetah-breeding program in North America before becoming the executive director of the New Opportunities in Animal Health Sciences at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo. She is credited with successfully mitigating conflict between farmers and cheetahs in Namibia, saving the lives of hundreds of cheetahs and other large carnivores with innovative, non-lethal predator control strategies, which include the use of the now-popular livestock guarding dog and the advancement of communal and commercial conservancies.
“The cheetah is a beautiful, majestic creature famous for its ability to reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour in short bursts while hunting on the open savanna. I am very excited to be talking with people in the U.S. about how we can ensure this unique species survives for future generations,” Dr. Marker said. “We must come together now if the cheetah is to have hope for a future.”
The cheetah is Africa’s most endangered big cat, with only an estimated 10,000 remaining in the wild.
Under Marker’s leadership, CCF has become a driving force in conservation, recognized for applying a science-based, holistic approach that carefully balances the needs of both people and wildlife sharing ecosystems.
Marker is a recipient of the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, The Tech Museum’s Intel Environmental Prize, and a two-time finalist for the prestigious Indianapolis Prize. She was named a Hero for the Planet by Time magazine and has been featured in Smithsonian, National Geographic and Discover, as well as national television shows, including “The Tonight Show,” “Good Morning America” and “Today.”
For a complete list of fall tour dates and locations, see the CFF Events Calendar.
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