August 2009 Notes from the Field
Dr. Laurie Marker's Field Notes
Dear Cheetah Friend,
Since last month in Namibia we have been celebrating Chewbaaka's 14th birthday, which is a huge milestone for any cheetah, let alone CCF's Ambassador! And with this great milestone, we have more good news:
We need your help now more than ever and we would like to thank all CCF supporters and friends for your continued contributions in our effort to save this amazing species. Every donation to the Chewbaaka Challenge, which runs until the 31st August, is a huge birthday present for Chewbaaka and his wild cousins. Every day he reminds us why we're working so diligently to save his kind. As you can see from the cards above, Chewbaaka has also inspired many children who hope we are successful in our efforts to save cheetahs for future generations. For more information on the Chewbaaka Challenge, please click here.
In this issue:
|CCF in Namibia|
As our winter here gets colder, our international team of volunteers is growing. Through the help of all of our wonderful Earthwatch and CCF volunteers, interns and dedicated staff, we are making great strides with all that we do on the ground in Namibia. We started our third year of camera-trap census research, which will last three months. All of our volunteers are helping us contribute to this ongoing body of knowledge as well as to our other ongoing research programs and daily activities.
This is also the time of year when CCF gets busy with international tourism. Recently, we have hosted really fun special groups of visitors such as the Indianapolis Zoo (photo), and private groups from Chicago and California. Many guests have stayed at our luxurious Babson Guest House and enjoyed exclusive visits with our cheetahs and incredible staff. The many people visiting us from around the world have given us great feedback and their support helps us continue our dedicated work for the cheetah. Also, our visitors learn all about our conservation and science programs and become new ambassadors for the cheetah when they return home! We have had several schools and universities visit, including groups from the University of Arizona, North Carolina State, Dartmouth, the UK's Guilford High School, and Earth Expeditions. One of last year's Earthwatch volunteers, a Biology teacher from the Bishop School in San Diego, California, brought a group of high school students (photo). To learn about visiting CCF Namibia, please click here.
Finally, and before heading off on my month-long travels into Europe and the United States last May, our friends from the Panthera Foundation visited CCF. Along with Panthera Founder and Chairman, Tom Kaplan (photo), were old friends, Drs. Alan Rabinowitz --noted for his groundbreaking work to save the jaguar in South America, and Luke Hunter, who has worked since 1995 in helping to re-establish cheetah populations in South Africa. After a tour of CCF's facilities, they joined all CCF staff and student interns for a great braai and good conversation around great cat conservation strategies.
Two months ago we welcomed Hediye, a Kangal dog donated by her breeders, Turkmen Kangal Dogs, in Era, Texas. Hediye, a name that means "gift" in Turkish, was nearly nine weeks old and is growing like a weed! Hediye was escorted to Namibia by Los Altos, California resident Donna Erickson, who came to volunteer at CCF. The puppy has become great friends with Cazgir, the other pure Turkish Kangal Dog donated to CCF a year ago, and is at home with the goat herd. These girls, along with semen from three males from Turkmen, will be the foundation of the new CCF Kangal breeding line.
We also had a litter of puppies born about a month ago. Tylee, a seven year old Anatolian Shepherd, had a hard birth, but her four surviving puppies are growing fast and healthy, and soon will be in their mother's footsteps: protecting farmer's livestock and helping farmers live with cheetahs and other wildlife on their land. We also have six new dairy goats. Our goats will join the CCF herd to help us raise livestock guarding dogs and demonstrate to Namibian farmers how good livestock management techniques can benefit them.
A couple of weeks ago, we sadly welcomed four new orphan cheetahs - -we had been following their mom via satellite radio collar for the past year; and a farmer called to say she was found dead. We knew though that she had cubs, so, working with the farmer, we set catch cages and caught the cubs after about a week. So four more babies to care for: Polly, Tony, Phil and Mischief. Please consider sponsoring one of our 52 resident cheetahs - sponsoring is a great live gift for a loved one.
Four more black rhinos were delivered to CCF on July 27 and 29. I was on the crate when one was released --a real adrenaline rush. They are so strong and angry coming out of the box! The two males are approximately 12 (he is huge) and six years old. The two females are thought to be three and four years old. And guests have already reported seeing one of them in the field!!! This makes a total of six rhinos that now call CCF home. CCF is one of a few sites selected by the Ministry of Environment for rhino relocation, and we are hoping that they can assist us in habitat restoration on our thickly bush encroached rhino sanctuary land. We still need to raise $5,000 to cover drugs, capture and transport.
Will you help us by sonsoring a cheetah or donating for the rhinos?
In June we conducted another international training course in Integrated Livestock, Wildlife, and Predator Management. This course teaches international wildlife managers and agricultural extension officers how to implement integrated management practices to help mitigate human-wildlife conflict in their home countries. Now that the course is over, we are already hearing back from some of the course participants on how they are applying their training to projects and situations back home.
After six months, our reintroduced male cheetahs in NamibRand Nature Reserve continue to do well. In addition, we released three female cheetahs, one of which we think has given birth due to the data we are getting from her satellite collar. One of the other females has recently been seen with the males! We celebrated this successful release into the wild at our annual Gala Dinner on 18th July in Windhoek, Namibia. This was an important opportunity to raise awareness in Namibia of the cheetah's continued struggle and need for support.
Read more about the adventures of the NamibRand Cheetahs on our CheetahNews blog.
This year's Gala (the 11th annual) was attended by over 300 people and we presented three conservation awards. The 2009 Cheetah Conservationist of the Year award was presented to Mr. J.A. (Albi) Brückner, the founder and visionary of the internationally recognized NamibRand Nature Reserve (on photo with me and CCF Namibia's Chairman Charles Bodenstein). The 2009 Farmer of the Year Award was given to Mr. Adolf Okamaru, a farmer from the Queen Sophia re-settled farm in the Otjiwarongo area who practices predator-friendly livestock and game management practices; accepting predators as a natural component of a healthy ecosystem. His farming demonstrates, through good management practices, that predator conservation is not contrary to the needs of humans, and that we can live together. Finally, the 2009 Conservation Education Award was presented to Mr. Günther Roeber for his years at CCF as a teacher and mentor to over 1,500 communal, resettled and emerging farmers and farm workers who participated in CCF's Future Farmers of Africa training courses at CCF (above photo, with CCF Namibia's Chairman Charles Bodenstein, and awardees Adolf Okamaru and Günther Roeber).
More exciting news! The Cheetah Conservation Fund's Bush Project has been recognized as one of 12 finalists in World Challenge 09. World Challenge 09 is "a global competition aimed at projects showing enterprise and innovation at grassroots level," produced by BBC World News and Newsweek, in association with Shell. Out of 900 entries, CCF has progressed to the top 12 for this prestigious competition. BBC was with us last week filming a segment about CCF and our Bush Project. The program will be aired sometime in September (check your local listings). From these 12 finalists, the winner of World Challenge 09 will be determined by popular vote, so PLEASE spread the word to vote for us when the time comes! Voting starts on September 28th. Keep an eye on our web site for details as the date approaches.
CCF Bush was also awarded $25,000 as one of three finalists for the prestigious St Andrews Prize for the Environment. The award, an initiative by the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and international energy company ConocoPhillips, was presented during a three-day seminar at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Thanks to Dr. Bruce Brewer (photo), CCF's General Manager and Manager of CCF Bushblok, who presented our Bush project while I was in the middle of my spring tour.
|On the Road|
My May trip to the United States had me travelling to three states and four cities in only 12 days. From May 11-15, I spent the week in Missoula, Montana, at the International Wildlife Film Festival, and was presented with the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award for Conservation. It was an honour to speak to the festival attendees and students and teachers about the cheetah and its survival on the planet. The cheetah is the keystone species that deserves to have a place on earth, but it could be extinct within 20 years if we don't do everything possible to save it. I am grateful to have had this opportunity in Missoula thanks to our Wildlife Conservation Network friends who nominated me for this award.
I then flew to Los Angeles to attend the second Safari Night fundraiser held in Pasadena by CCF Trustee Willy Ma and his wife Eileen (photo below left). It was a great success with over 138 friends and family attending this fantastic event with music by Willy Ma and his Band and wonderful African critters presented by Wild Wonders-- partners in cheetah conservation education -- with ambassador cheetah Victor, who was showcased in my lecture there. I can't thank everyone enough for attending and supporting this incredible fundraiser as we plan on another in 2011!!
From Burbank the next day, I flew into Oakland to meet Trustee Bob Page who assisted my travels to the next afternoon event at Nooshy Mabasher's home in Lafayette, CA. Nooshy, who is Iranian and a supporter of the Asiatic Cheetah Society (photo, above right, with Steve and Florence Goldby) and invited all her family and friends to "See a Live Cheetah" from Leopard's Etc., and support CCF with this great fundraising effort. It was a wonderful party and I thank everyone for attending and supporting us through their donations of silent auction items of African art works and jewellery by designer Margaret Wilkie. I was thrilled to be able to spend time with all my CCF friends and trustees, including Walt Bodley and Patricia Klitgaard just to name a few, as well as my parents, Marline and Ralph Bushey.
This trip also gave me an invaluable opportunity to spend some time with CCF USA's newest staff members. Hillary Davidson replaced Kat Powers last April as Director of Operations, and Mary Alex (MA) joined us in May as our Major Gifts Fundraiser. With Hillary and MA, our CCF USA team keeps getting stronger and stronger. We are very excited to welcome both of them. (Photo: MA and Hillary)
It is so important for me to touch base with all my CCF supporters, whenever possible, during my tours to the States and Europe. I will be travelling to the States again this fall and if you would like to arrange a fundraiser to support CCF in your area, please contact Paula Martin, my Executive Assistant and Outreach Coordinator, to arrange these events or meetings with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. CCF 's worldwide organization can exist only through your generous donations.
My first stop in Europe was to participate in the 10th Sahelo-Saharan Interest Group Conference at Marwell Zoo, in the United Kingdom, where we discussed important items in connection with cheetah and antelope conservation in northern Africa. This was followed by my first visit to Cambridge University, where I lectured at the Department of Veterinary Science.
At cheetah speed, I travelled through the "Chunnel" by train to lecture for the first time in France at the Parc des Felins, near Paris. This visit was an excellent opportunity to get to know CCF's new fundraising partner in France, AMIFELINS (photo), and the management at Parc des Felins. I truly appreciate their support in having organized such a great event.
After my engagements in the States, I returned to Europe once more to present a paper at the International Conference on Diseases of Zoo and Wild Animals at Beekse Bergen Safaripark in Holland. The Dutch zoos Beekse Bergen, as well as Amersfoort and Gaiapark (photo right), hosted me for lectures and meetings during my visit, as we seek to increase our cooperation with them thanks to our very enthusiastic and effective partner, the SPOTS Foundation, under the leadership of Simone Eckhardt.
A two-day meeting in southern France with local government officials, scientists and conservationists, and presided by Gaston Franco (photo, left), Mayor of St-Martin Vésubie and recently elected to the European Parliament, concluded with the signature of a cooperation agreement between CCF and Parc ALPHA with the objective of addressing conflict between predators and humans. This cooperation is the result of a recent visit to CCF by representatives of Parc ALPHA --an organization dedicated to wolf conservation in France, to learn about the success of CCF's Integrated Livestock Predator Management programmes that provide farmers with tools and education to help them maximise productivity while minimising livestock losses to cheetahs and other predators.
Prior to flying back home, I went back to the UK, where Friends of Conservation UK once again organized a fundraising event that allowed me to meet with old friends and meet new ones. I also had the privilege of lecturing at Paradise Wildlife Park (photo) in Broxbourne, and at the Cheltenham Ladies College, which has selected CCF as one of its official charities for the academic year 2009/2010.
While in Cheltenham and thanks to CCF supporter Alison Ravano, I had the pleasure of meeting Lord and Mrs. Drayson. Lord Drayson, the Minister of Science and Innovation, was preparing to race at the world-famous Le Mans 24, and he graciously agreed to display our logo on his Aston Martin during the race. Thank you so much, Lord Drayson and your team, for giving the cheetah this honour at such an appropriate venue.
Thank you all again for your continued support, and please join with us in celebrating Chewbaaka's many years of service as our ambassador. Help us realize this accomplishment by taking part in our Chewbaaka Challenge fundraising drive!
On behalf of our entire CCF team, A BIG THANK YOU to all our supporters worldwide for your help in saving the wild cheetah.Yours on behalf of the cheetah,
Laurie Marker, PhD
Founder and Executive Director
Cheetah Conservation Fund
Newest Artist Helping Cheetahs
Donating 25% of their sales or more to CCF.
Animal Fashions by Jordan
Carry a Cheetah on your Back!
"Cheetah on the Prowl" Pastel
NOW YOU CAN FOLLOW US!
It's been an exciting last few weeks as CCF has been featured prominently on various news shows.
In mid-July, a CCF program was shown on ABC's Good Morning America and on Nightline each included segments on CCF. And only a few days ago, I had the honour of being featured as "The Person of the Week" on ABC's World News Tonight with Charlie Gibson. CCF is also a feature article on the August 2009 issue of the beautiful magazine Africa Geographic (read below to subscribe at a special rate and receive a copy of this issue ), and will also appear on All Nippon's in-flight magazine, WINGSPAN, in September.
JEFF CORWIN AT ccf
Jeff Corwin (photo above) just finished four days of filming with Laurie and the CCF staff for a MSNBC TV program documentary called 100 Heartbeats, which will coincide with the launch of his newest book with the same name. The book and TV news documentary will deal with several species that are running their last races for survival. While at CCF, Jeff agreed to assist Laurie with spreading the word about CCF’s efforts in saving the wild cheetah for future generations. Watch for the CCF highlight on MSNBC’s 100 Heartbeats at the end of November. (Photo below, with CCF staff and his film crew on the Star Cubs' birthday).
Africa Geographic at a Special Rate for CCF's Supporters!
This stunning image is the cover of Africa Geographic's August 2009 issue with Tim Jackson's inspiring feature on Dr Laurie Marker and the CCF's work in Namibia.
Reporting on the continent's compelling wildlife and conservation issues, award-winning Africa Geographic is your most inspiring and informative monthly environmental read.
Now CCF's Supporters can subscribe and receive a special low rate, plus receive a free copy of the August 2009 issue!
To subscribe, email email@example.com tel. (+27-21) 762 2180 or toll free in South Africa 0800 00 4464 and fax (+27-21) 762 2246.
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Upcoming CCF Events
This 18th October, meet the CCF Team and join us in learning more about the cheetah as we hold our
Annual Meeting and Gala in Chicago, Illinois
Hosted by the CCF Chicago Chapter! Please keep an eye on our
We are currently organizing CCF fundraising events in the following cities:
- Washington, DC - Chapter Event
- Denver, Colorado
- Portland, Oregon - Big Cat. Big Party
- Seattle, Washington
- Chicago, Illinois - CCF Gala
- Indianapolis, Indiana
- New York., New York - Chapter Event
- Santa Rosa, California - Safari West
- Monterey, California - Non-Lethal Conference
Click here for our Event Calendar.