25 years of speed and elegance

Dr. Laurie Marker (centre), with Hon. Pohamba Shifeta, Minister of Environment and Tourism shaking hands with Dr. Stephen O’Brien a world leading molecular biologist, genome bioinformatician and dedicated conservationist who uses the tools of molecular biology to help protect endangered species.

The Cheetah Conservation Fund celebrated 25 years of conserving the speed and elegance of the cheetah with a Gala Dinner and annual auction at the Windhoek Country Club for the 17th time.

The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is a Namibian non-profit trust dedicated to the long-term survival of the cheetah and its ecosystems.
The illustrious occasion, last week Friday, saw over 300 guests welcomed by Brian Badger, Operations Manager of the Fund as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies.
This year’s guest speaker was Dr. Stephen O’Brien, internationally recognised as a geneticist.
Cheetah Conservation Fund founder and Executive Director, Dr. Laurie Marker shared her memories of 25 years on the development of the Cheetah Conservation Fund which has developed and implemented various programmes to help communities live in harmony with cheetahs.
The CCF focused its efforts in the recent years to work in the Eastern Communal Areas, an area also known as Hereroland or the Greater Waterberg Landscape.
The community development work has fostered the development of an economic system in this area where humans can live within the natural scope of a healthy, intact and bio-diverse landscape.
Dr. Marker presented several 2015 Cheetah Conservation Awards, recognising those who have been actively involved in helping conserve the cheetah and the environment. The CCF’s International Patron, Professor Peter Katjivivi, assisted with the awards.
Dr. Stephen O’Brien was presented with CCF’s 2015 Cheetah Conservationist of the Year award for his years of extensive research on cheetah genetics leading to effective conservation programmes and for his role as Chairman of the Board of the Cheetah Conservation Fund USA where he is instrumental in helping to lead CCF’s global initiatives.
The Pupkewitz Foundation won the Conservation Business of the Year award for constructing in October 2013 a visitor centre and café after a lightning strike destroyed the previous facility.
The Pupkewitz Foundation also supported the café through a generous donation by providing all the culinary equipment. The Visitor Centre is now complete and again open to the public.
Dr Marker said the generous donation saw the centre being rebuilt like a Phoenix rising from the ashes.
Jackson Hindjou , Simson Karamata and Ricky Khaxab were also awarded for community work in capacity building programmes and training programmes.
Alexander Mbarimuuo from the Ozonahi Conservancy. Ebenhard Karita from the Okamatapati Conservancy, Abiud Kandinda from African Wild Dog Conservancy and Kapenauarue Katjiveri from Otjituuo Conservancy also received awards for being the Cheetah Conservation Fund’s community education facilitators in the Greater Waterberg Landscape area.