Laurie Marker

As Founder and Director for the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) since 1990, Laurie Marker pioneered new ideas in cheetah conservation, and has formed cooperative alliances on behalf of the cheetah that had never before been possible. She is recognized around the world as one of the leading experts on cheetahs, both in the wild and in captivity, and began her in-situ research in Namibia, Africa in 1977 where she conducted ground breaking research on re-introduction of captive born cheetahs back into the wild. It was at this time that she learned about the conflict between livestock farmers and cheetahs. Early collaborative research in 1982 resulted in identifying the limited genetic makeup of the cheetah. Based in Namibia since 1991, Dr. Marker has led a conservation program from humble beginnings in a tiny farmhouse in rural Namibia to an unparalleled conservation model for predator conservation. In the early days, with no one to learn from or lean on, she broke new ground with every new program and effort. Dr. Marker has contributed vital information on cheetah health, reproduction, mortality, evolution, and genetics from her biomedical work on every cheetah that passes through CCF’s hands (over 800). Her efforts to unite a nation, a continent and the world in the effort to save the cheetah are impressive. Through education and collaboration with local farmers and landowners, conservancies have been formed to provide thousands of contiguous acres of land where cheetahs can roam safely, Dr. Marker chairs the Conservancy Association of Namibia. She learned that with improved livestock and wildlife management techniques, cheetah, people and livestock can peacefully co-exist. In addition to many international awards for her work in Cheetah Conservation, in 2000 she was recognized as one of the Time Magazine Hero’s for the Planet. In 2002 she completed her PhD in Zoology at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and has published over 45 scientific publications and has been written up in a couple hundred popular press articles. She has been a member of the World Conservation Unions (IUCN) Species Survival Commission’s Cat Specialist Group since 1988, was the vice-chair from 1992 to 2001 and currently serves as one of their core members. Today, Dr. Dr. Marker has assisted in developing cheetah conservation programs in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Algeria, Iran and as well as supporting a field research base in Kenya. This understanding is the only way that cheetahs will survive.