During the last century, cheetahs have been disappearing from Africa – 90% of the cheetah population has been lost. They fall victim to conflict with farmers, disappearing habitat, and loss of prey. For many years, Namibia’s cheetahs were part of this trend. Although the country’s cheetah population remained the largest on the continent, its numbers were declining drastically throughout the 1980s.
Cheetah Conservation Fund began working in Namibia in the 1990s, armed with a few battered buildings, a determined conservationist and big ideas. From these humble beginnings the organization has grown into a major force in conservation.
Since CCF began its work, Namibia’s cheetah population has remained stable and possibly even increased slightly. Cheetah Conservation Fund has now extended its programs beyond Namibia, and its dedicated work with cheetahs and those who live among them has given new hope to the world’s fastest animal.
"If we’re going to save the cheetah, we have to change how Africa is living."
- Dr. Laurie Marker
A Unique Conservation Approach
Livestock Guard Dogs
Reducing farmer conflict with cheetahs is a cornerstone of CCF’s work. A guard dog program helps farmers protect their livestock from predators. The program breeds guard dogs, places them with farmers, and supplies free medical care for them. A model farm uses dogs to protect goats and produces cheetah-friendly goat cheese sold in stores.
CCF provides economic incentives to Namibians who live peacefully among cheetahs. Cheetah Country Beef gives farmers who practice cheetah-friendly livestock management a premium for their beef, which is sold in Europe under an eco-label. The Bushblok program transforms invasive plants into biofuel, creating local job opportunities while also restoring habitat for cheetahs.
Research about the cheetah shapes conservation policies and informs education programs. CCF has worked with over 900 cheetahs to understand their habits and needs. The CCF Research and Education Center is known as the most comprehensive cheetah research facility and educational museum in the world.
The percentage fall in predation on livestock when guard dogs are used
Cheetahs rescued by CCF from farms or private land
Dr. Laurie Marker
Laurie has always been a pioneer. She helped establish the Oregon wine industry in its early days while also creating the most successful captive cheetah breeding program at Oregon’s Wildlife Sanctuary.
She arrived in Namibia for the first time in 1977, when she brought a captive orphan cheetah to the country to determine if it could hunt without being taught. Laurie was struck by the levels of conflict between farmers and cheetahs that she saw and spent the next ten years telling people that they must do something about it. When no one did, Laurie decided to sell most of her possessions and move to Namibia and do something herself.
Laurie set up CCF in 1990. She began by going door-to-door finding out why farmers were killing cheetahs. By understanding farmers’ needs and ideas she developed solutions. Her life is now devoted to stabilizing the world’s wild cheetah population.
How You Can Help
Live Stock Guard Dogs
$500 will sponsor a Livestock Guarding Dog for a year providing food, veterinary care, and support to a local farmer.
$1,000 will sponsor a Namibian student intern at CCF for 2 months, allowing those who live with cheetahs to better understand human impacts.
Cheetah Conservation Fund requires ongoing support for its biological research of cheetahs, including studies of genetics, disease and reproductive health.
When you designate your donation to a specific species, 100% of your donation will go directly to the field to support this species.