Big 5s

Dr Laurie Marker

Executive Director, Cheetah Conservation Fund

“My favourite animal in photographs and in real life is the cheetah. I fell in love with this species back in the 1970s and my feelings have only deepened over time. I’m so glad to have had the experience of working with this special cat during my career. My wish for the world is that every single person alive gets to experience the magic of a cheetah in person at least once in their lifetimes. We invite people to visit us in Namibia to see one in the wild, and to take it’s photo, too.

The cheetah is one of the oldest of the big cat species, with ancestors that can be traced back more than five million years to the Miocene era. The cheetah is also the world’s fastest land mammal, an icon of nature.

After their ability to run fast, it is the eyes of the cheetah that fascinate people most. Large and amber, when a cheetah gazes at you, it is also looking beyond you. The cheetah’s vision has a depth and focus greater than most any other species. It can pick up movement from great distances, as far as a mile away, and can see as clearly as humans do when using binoculars. Keen vision is a means of survival; the cheetah constantly scans the horizon looking for prey or other predators. Its vision is also central to its highly successful hunting technique, which includes spotting prey, stealthily stalking, and engaging in brief, high-speed pursuits before going in for the kill.

Known as the best hunter on the savanna, the cheetah’s kill not only feeds cheetahs but other species as well, from jackals and vultures to smaller carnivores and insects. And if a cheetah helps feed a jackal, that jackal does not need to venture into a farmer’s livestock kraal looking for a meal. An apex predator, the cheetah ensures that multiple species survive another day in the veld. The cheetah is important because its presence results in greater biodiversity for the entire ecosystem, and biodiversity is the hallmark of a healthy ecosystem.

Cheetahs are on the verge of extinction because they are threatened by conflict, habitat loss and loss of prey. Each of these threats is due to human activities and each is now exacerbated by climate change, which is also attributable to people. Solving the cheetah conservation crisis involves unravelling a complex web of social, environmental and economic issues involving people. There is no quick fix and no easy solution. Cheetahs really, really, need our help.”

cheetah.org
www.instagram.com/ccfcheetah

Photo by Dr Laurie Marker

My Big 5

    Cheetah
    Giraffe
    Tiger
    Elephant
    Lion

Dr Laurie Marker

Executive Director, Cheetah Conservation Fund

“My favourite animal in photographs and in real life is the cheetah. I fell in love with this species back in the 1970s and my feelings have only deepened over time. I’m so glad to have had the experience of working with this special cat during my career. My wish for the world is that every single person alive gets to experience the magic of a cheetah in person at least once in their lifetimes. We invite people to visit us in Namibia to see one in the wild, and to take it’s photo, too.

The cheetah is one of the oldest of the big cat species, with ancestors that can be traced back more than five million years to the Miocene era. The cheetah is also the world’s fastest land mammal, an icon of nature.

After their ability to run fast, it is the eyes of the cheetah that fascinate people most. Large and amber, when a cheetah gazes at you, it is also looking beyond you. The cheetah’s vision has a depth and focus greater than most any other species. It can pick up movement from great distances, as far as a mile away, and can see as clearly as humans do when using binoculars. Keen vision is a means of survival; the cheetah constantly scans the horizon looking for prey or other predators. Its vision is also central to its highly successful hunting technique, which includes spotting prey, stealthily stalking, and engaging in brief, high-speed pursuits before going in for the kill.

Known as the best hunter on the savanna, the cheetah’s kill not only feeds cheetahs but other species as well, from jackals and vultures to smaller carnivores and insects. And if a cheetah helps feed a jackal, that jackal does not need to venture into a farmer’s livestock kraal looking for a meal. An apex predator, the cheetah ensures that multiple species survive another day in the veld. The cheetah is important because its presence results in greater biodiversity for the entire ecosystem, and biodiversity is the hallmark of a healthy ecosystem.

Cheetahs are on the verge of extinction because they are threatened by conflict, habitat loss and loss of prey. Each of these threats is due to human activities and each is now exacerbated by climate change, which is also attributable to people. Solving the cheetah conservation crisis involves unravelling a complex web of social, environmental and economic issues involving people. There is no quick fix and no easy solution. Cheetahs really, really, need our help.”

Photo by Dr Laurie Marker

My Big 5

    Cheetah
    Giraffe
    Tiger
    Elephant
    Lion

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