Silver Spring, MD – On Thursday, December 4, 2013, zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) will join the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in celebrating the third annual International Cheetah Day by featuring activities to help educate visitors about the threats faced by this endangered species.
Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) and its Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Laurie Marker, call on the international community to celebrate the cheetah on this day, reflect on the importance of this iconic species, and act to support efforts to secure the cheetah’s future.
In honor of International Cheetah Day, CCF will also feature a video address filmed in Namibia from Dr. Laurie Marker on “The State of the Cheetah.” This year, CCF is also extending its reach by increasing education opportunities for CCF and their zoological partners. CCF is supplying infographics, content for social media, and education materials to zoological institutions around the world in efforts to educate people about the cheetah and CCF’s work in the field.
CCF encourages individuals to use its social media tools and hashtags (#SavetheCheetah, #IntlCheetahDay) to spread the word about the plight of the cheetah. These can be downloaded at CCF’s website, www.cheetah.org. CCF will also bring back the popular Virtual Cheetah Party on its Facebook page, asking visitors to the page to post their memories, thoughts, pictures and other cheetah-related content to celebrate the world’s fastest land animal on its special day.
“The message of International Cheetah Day is that the cheetah needs our help, and everyone can help, right now, right where they are,” says Dr. Marker. “A lot of people think that they can’t do anything to save the cheetah because they can’tgo to Africa, or they don’t have a lot of money. Awareness is a critical component of conservation. We can’t win the race for survival if no one knows the cheetah is vulnerable to extinction.”
“AZA-accredited zoos are dedicated to the conservation of this endangered species,” said Shelly Grow, AZA’s Director of Conservation Programs. “By educating visitors about the cheetah and by supporting conservation projects in their natural ranges, AZA-accredited zoos are major players in the cause to make a positive impact on the future of these animals.”
In 2012 alone, AZA-accredited zoos contributed approximately $300,000 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; translocating cheetahs to the safety of conservation areas; and studying the cheetah populations through research and conducting community outreach and education.
International Cheetah Day-themed activities have been scheduled at several AZA-accredited zoos, including BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo, Brevard Zoo, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay,Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens, Dallas Zoo, Dickerson Park Zoo,Oregon Zoo, Philadelphia Zoo, Saint Louis Zoo, The Little Rock Zoo, Wildlife Safari, and Zoo Miami. Please be sure to check directly with the facility for details.
The cheetah is not only the fastest, but the oldest of all the big cats. Having survived over three million years through an Ice Age and a genetic bottleneck,its numbers have now been decimated by 90 percent in the last 100 years. With only 10,000 animals remaining in the wild, the cheetah population faces more threats than ever before, all of them originating with humans.
Since its inception, CCF has been working to provide solutions to save cheetahs by helping the people who live alongside them. CCF introduced Namibian livestock farmers to non-lethal predator control methods in the form of livestock guard dogs – specially bred and trained Anatolian shepherds and Kangal dogs whose presence among the livestock can reduce predation rates by 80 to 100percent. CCF has also helped establish similar guarding dog programs in four other countries. CCF works tirelessly with a network of individuals and organizations to combat the illegal pet trade, and combats habitat loss by selectively harvesting the thickened thornbush that chokes the cheetah’s rangeland, and using the resulting biomass material to create an award-winning fuel log called Bushblok.
Access CCF’s special International Cheetah Day resources or support CCF at http://www.cheetah.org/?nd=IntlCheetahDay.
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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