Kitty lovers of the Desert Cities were treated to a special event featuring the fastest of all Felines – the elegant cheetah. This endangered species is sadly on its own race toward extinction. We welcomed an ambassador, Masika, a cheetah from Wild Wonders in Bonsall, accompanied Dr. Laurie Marker, world-renowned expert on the species, who is the Founder and Executive Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund from Namibia where the largest remaining population of cheetah remain. Dr. Marker, a native from California greeted guests as she talked about saving the threatened species at a fundraiser held in an Estate in Old Las Palmas.
Enjoying an afternoon listening to the strums of guitar, enjoying wine and hors d’oeuvres, guests had the opportunity to view this magnificent and graceful animal at close range. Dr. Marker explained the precarious situation facing the cheetah as farmland and livestock expand, reducing the habitat for wildlife. For the past 25 years Dr. Marker has dedicated her life, working diligently and intelligently to create a win-win situation for both farmers and wildlife in Namibia. For example, in addition to rescuing injured cheetah’s and orphaned cubs, she also raises Anatolian Shepard dogs which are given to farmers to protect their herds from predators like the cheetah.
Guests were invited to try a line of beautifully designed wildlife-inspired clothing by designer Jordan Sack of the San Diego based Animal Fashions by Jordan, and to bid on unique silent auction items and purchase hand-crafted jewelry from Namibia. Proceeds from sales went to support the Cheetah Conservation Fund, now celebrating its 25th anniversary.
The event was hosted by Roswitha Smale who was highly impressed by Dr. Marker’s dedicated work when she visited the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia in 2014.
Among the supporters were Susan Meredith, Nickie McLaughlin, Tricia Jurovic, Bob and Merle Lustbader, Sam Cardella, J.R. Roberts, Robert Imber, Sally Sullivan, and Joan and Gary Gand.
Cheetah Conservation Fund
Photography by Loretta Vlach