Earth Day News – What Will Happen if the Cheetah Becomes Extinct?

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Dr. Laurie Marker, the world’s leading expert on the cheetah, and Masika, an ambassador cheetah from Wild Wonders, are available for phone, remote and in-studio interview segments throughout Southern California April 21-25, 2015 to talk about the cheetah conservation crisis and explain the theory of trophic cascade.

Dr. Laurie Marker, Founder and Executive Director of Cheetah Conservation Fund

Humans have caused most of the problems threatening to destroy the Earth, but we are also the only species capable of solving them. For that reason, we can still hope for a future for cheetahs.

With only 10,000 remaining, the cheetah is not only the fastest land mammal, but is the most endangered of all big cat species in Africa. For the past 40 years, conservation biologist Dr. Laurie Marker has been fighting to save this iconic species from ground zero in Namibia, the country with the greatest number of remaining wild cheetah, also known as “Cheetah Capital of the World.” Dr. Marker estimates there is a limited time remaining before the wild cheetah’s numbers are so low, extinction will be inevitable.

If an apex predator like the cheetah disappears from its ecosystem, a devastating effect known as trophic cascade will threaten all species in the ecosystem and could potentially render the land untenable for supporting any species, plant or animal. Like a domino falling, removing the cheetah could touch off a rippling effect that would destroy the delicate balance of Earth’s natural habitats.

Dr. Marker can explain the concept of trophic cascade and how the greatest threats facing predators in Africa -- human-wildlife conflict and loss of habitat -- are due to human intervention and are exacerbated by global climate change. Dr. Marker can also address the solutions that are being applied, and tell us what everyone can do to help, no matter where they are located in the world. She believes that we, as humans, have caused many of the Earth’s problems – but we are also the only species capable of solving them.

Dr. Marker is known internationally in conservation for her holistic, science-based approach to predator conservation that takes into account the needs of both people and wildlife sharing an ecosystem. Through her award-winning conservation programs with the organization she founded 25 years ago, Cheetah Conservation Fund, Dr. Marker applies solutions that are highly effective and serve as models for other predator conservation programs, including the use of Livestock Guarding Dogs, the advancement of conservancies for land management, and the restoration of habitat through the harvesting of excess thornbush.

Dr. Marker has traveled 3,500 miles from her home in Africa to attend the April 24, 2015, ceremony introducing USC’s Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement 2015 Laureates (she was awarded this honor in 2010 for her habitat restoration work) and to lecture about the cheetah conservation crisis. While in Southern California, Dr. Marker will be giving a talk at the San Diego Zoo on Tuesday, April 21, and hosting a fundraiser in Los Angeles on Saturday, April 25, to benefit Cheetah Conservation Fund. While Dr. Marker currently makes her home in Namibia, she grew up in Rolling Hills, California and maintains a network of active supporters in the region through the Southern California chapter of her nonprofit, CCF.

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SUSAN E YANNETTI

Dr. Laurie Marker
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