Laurie L. Marker

Founder at Cheetah Conservation Fund

Laurie L. Marker

Laurie L. Marker

Founder at Cheetah Conservation Fund

Biography

Dr. Laurie Marker

Before becoming Executive Director of Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in 1990, Dr. Laurie Marker began her career working with cheetahs at Wildlife Safari, a wildlife park in the United States. She first traveled to South West Africa (now Namibia) while conducting research into the rewilding of captive-born cheetahs.


Dr. Marker’s research proved that cheetahs held in captivity could be taught to hunt but, more importantly, it was during this time she discovered livestock farmers were killing wild cheetah by the hundreds. Without intervention, the future of the species would be in jeopardy. For this reason, Dr. Marker decided to found CCF and move to Namibia.



Early Life

Laura Lee Bushey (Dr. Laurie Marker) was born in Detroit, Michigan and lived in Birmingham, a suburb of Detroit. Her father, Ralph, came from a farming family and was an agricultural economist and accountant. Her mother, Marline, was an elementary and high school teacher and kept the family active in the community with nonprofit work.

Dr. Marker’s family moved to Southern California when she was four years-old. She spent her childhood surrounded by animals, learning how to care for horses, dogs, cats, rabbits, donkeys and goats.

Early Career

Dr. Marker’s family resettled in Northern California in time for her to finish high school at age 16. She started college early, studying agriculture, enology and viticulture in Napa, California. Dr. Marker moved north to become a pioneer of the Oregon wine industry. She started a winery and a small dairy goat farm, and to support her businesses, she began working at Wildlife Safari in 1974. Her main interest from the start was the cheetah, a species little was known about and not well understood. During her 16 years at Wildlife Safari, Dr. Marker helped develop the U.S. and international captive breeding program for cheetahs (cheetah studbooks) and established the most successful captive cheetah-breeding program in North America.

In 1977 during her first trip to South West Africa (Namibia), Laurie found that livestock farmers were catching hundreds of cheetahs in cage traps and killing them. Later, research and tracking showed that during the 1980’s, farmers had killed more than 7,000 cheetahs, cutting the country’s cheetah population in half.

In the 1980’s, Dr. Marker began collaborating with researchers from the Smithsonian Institution and the National Cancer Institute on groundbreaking research. They discovered the lack of genetic diversity in the species, including very poor sperm quality and disease suitability, both of which are contributing factors to the difficulties of captive breeding.

Dr. Marker and Khayam

Khayam was born on December 4, 1976 at Wildlife Safari. Laurie raised Khayam from a newborn cub, and together they traveled to South West Africa (now Namibia) in 1977. When the pair returned to the U.S. several months later following their successful research project, they traveled regionally and nationally making public appearances to generate awareness for the cheetah’s plight. Khayam served as the first ambassador animal for her species.

Khayam's Legacy

Dr. Marker says that Khayam “showed her the vision and gave her the path” to help save her wild brethren. International Cheetah Day is now celebrated every year on December 4th to honor Khayam.


Cheetah Conservation Fund

Once she determined to create a cheetah research center, Dr. Marker investigated many locations across the cheetah’s range in Africa. After Namibia gained its independence in 1990, Dr. Marker decided to make this newly-formed country the base for her frontline conservation organization focused on saving the cheetah.

Dr. Marker left her job at the Smithsonian Institution’s New Opportunities and Animal Health Sciences (NOAHS) Center and moved to Namibia. She set up CCF in a simple farmhouse and bought an old Land Rover with funds she raised from the sale of her possessions.

Overview
Career Highlights

Cheetah Conservation Fund

RelSci Relationships

115

Number of Boards

2

Relationships
RelSci Relationships are individuals Laurie L. Marker likely has professional access to. A relationship does not necessarily indicate a personal connection.

President at WILD Foundation

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Member, Board of Trustees at Cheetah Conservation Fund

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Member, Board of Directors at Cheetah Conservation Fund

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Member, Board of Trustees at Cheetah Conservation Fund

Relationship likelihood: Strong

President Emeritus at Environmental Enterprises Assistance Fund

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Former Faculty Member at University of Southern California

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Board Director at Cheetah Conservation Fund

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Director at Cheetah Conservation Fund

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Member, Board of Trustees at Cheetah Conservation Fund

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Member, Board of Trustees at University of Indianapolis

Relationship likelihood: Strong

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Laurie L. Marker
Founder at Cheetah Conservation Fund
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THE CHEETAH CONSERVATION FUND'S MISSION IS TO ENSURE THE LONG-TERM SURVIVAL OF THE CHEETAH AND ITS ECOSYSTEM THROUGH A MULTI-DISCIPLINED AND INTEGRATED PROGRAM OF RESEARCH AND EDUCATION.

Other Affiliations

Laurie L. Marker is affiliated with Cheetah Conservation Fund

This web site is not endorsed by, directly affiliated with, maintained, authorized, or sponsored by Laurie L. Marker. The use of any trade name or trademark is for identification and reference purposes only and does not imply any association with the trademark holder. The Presence of Laurie L. Marker's profile does not indicate a business or promotional relationship of any kind between RelSci and Laurie L. Marker.