Washington, D.C.–On Thursday, December 4, 2014, zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) will join the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in marking the 4th annual observance of International Cheetah Day. By encouraging all wildlife fans to participate in cheetah-centric activities, AZA and CCF hope to inspire more humans to get involved in the long-term fight to secure a future for this beautiful, mystical creature, which is African’s most endangered big cat.
To celebrate this special day, people are encouraged to learn more about cheetahs and help raise conservation awareness by participating in events and/or social media activities being held by participating AZA-accredited zoos. CCF also suggests 10 additional ways to take part in International Cheetah Day festivities:
1. Become a wildlife ambassador. Tell your friends and family about the cheetah.
2. Show solidarity through fashion. Wear cheetah print; (a single accessory or head to toe)!
3. Swap your online profile photo for a cheetah.
4. Join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag, #savethecheetah.
5. Download CCF’s Cheetah Activity Packet designed for elementary school students. It includes cheetah facts, a word search puzzle, stickers and a Certificate of Cheetah Achievement!
6. Watch and share a special International Cheetah Day video message from Jeff Corwin.
7. Just for kids (or maybe not): download our template to make your own way-‐cool cheetah mask. It’s fun to impersonate a cheetah! (mask template is in CCF’s Cheetah Activity Packet)
8. Wear said way-cool cheetah mask to our all-day Virtual Cheetah Party on Facebook. Post photos so everyone can see your best cheetah face (or email us the photo at email@example.com and the photo will be posted in the online gallery).
9. Get some stylish cheetah gear from the CCF Store at Café Press so you can spark conversation about the cheetah all year-round.
10. Make a donation to support cheetah conservation in the wild or sponsor a resident cheetah from CCF’s sanctuary.
The cheetah is not only the fastest, but it is also the oldest of all the big cats. It has survived more than three million years through the Ice Age and a genetic bottleneck, only to have its numbers decimated by almost 90 percent in the last 100 years. With fewer than 10,000 animals remaining in the wild, the cheetah population is at great risk of extinction.
International Cheetah Day-themed events and/or social media activities will take place at several AZA-accredited zoos, including Albuquerque Biological Park, Busch Gardens Tampa, Caldwell Zoo, Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens, Dallas Zoo, David Traylor Zoo of Emporia, Dickerson Park Zoo, Indianapolis Zoological Society, San Diego Zoo Global, and Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. Please be sure to check directly with the facility for details.
In 2013 alone, AZA-accredited zoos contributed more than $385,000 toward cheetah field conservation projects. Projects supported (to name a few) range from working with local members of the community in the cheetahs’ natural ranges on human-cheetah conflict mitigation, studying the cheetah populations, and conducting community outreach and education.
“As cheetahs continue to face threats in their natural ranges, AZA-accredited zoos are working to help protect this endangered species by collaborating with conservation partners, supporting field projects, and engaging visitors in learning more about cheetahs and what can be done to help them,” said Dr. Debborah Luke, AZA’s Senior Vice President of Conservation and Science. “We are proud to work with CCF and participate in International Cheetah Day, and we encourage others to join us in raising awareness about this incredible species.”
“International Cheetah Day serves to remind us that the cheetah, like all wildlife, is a treasure of our planet. Wildlife enhances our landscapes and can support livelihoods when utilized in a sustainable manner,” said CCF Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Laurie Marker. “The good news is humans have the power to bring this species back from the brink of extinction – but only if we work together. Celebrating International Cheetah Day is a fantastic way to start."
CCF’s Cheetah Activity Packet, cheetah photos, videos and social media links are available to download for free at www.cheetah.org and www.internationalcheetahday.org.
Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and six other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit www.aza.org.
About the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF)
Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is the global leader in research and conservation of cheetahs. It is a non-profit trust headquartered in Namibia, and a USA 501c3 with offices in Alexandria, Virginia. CCF is dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild. CCF believes that understanding the cheetah's biology, ecology, and interactions with people is essential to conserve the cheetah in the wild. The strategy is a three-pronged process of research, conservation and education, beginning with long-term studies to understand and monitor the factors affecting the cheetah's survival. Results are used to develop conservation policies and programs. CCF works with local, national and international communities to raise awareness, communicate, and educate. CCF maintains active affiliate organizations in the United Kingdom and Canada, has fundraising chapters across the United States, and partners with organizations in many other countries.
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