Unsung Heroes: Women In Conservation – Dr. Laurie Marker (Born January 20, 1954)

Unknown photographer, classicescapes.com

My source material can be found here.

What fascinates me the most about Dr. Marker is that she didn’t originally plan to make conservation her life’s work; instead she studied oenology (the making of wine) and was working as a vintner and a goat farmer when she took a job at Wildlife Safari to supplement her income. While she was there, she became entranced by cheetahs, which changed the course of her life. Dr. Marker spent 16 years working with them and created the most successful domestic captive breeding program in existence in North America. On December 4, 1976, Khayam was born at Wildlife Safari and Dr. Marker toured the country with her to educate people on the important role cheetahs play in our world. Does the date sound familiar? It should! International Cheetah Day is celebrated every year on December 4th to honor Khayam’s role as goodwill ambassador for her species.

By 1977, she traveled to Namibia, where she learned that half the country’s cheetah population had been decimated by human-wildlife conflict; ranchers had no idea how to protect their livestock by means other than killing the cheetah, so in 1990 Dr. Marker permanently moved to Namibia and started the Cheetah Conservation Fund. It teaches farmers how to co-exist with them, educates children about why they are important, and rehabilitates orphaned cheetahs while providing a lifelong home for the ones that can’t be re-released into the wild.

Sometimes life’s greatest twists and turns make the biggest difference.

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