The Cheetah Conservation Fund Belgium (CCF Belgium) is an international affiliate from CCF. Created in March 2014, it will focus on raising awareness in Belgium through several channels.
The Belgian team consists of :
Dr. Laurie Marker is Founder and Executive Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF). Having worked with cheetahs since 1974, Laurie set up the not-for-profit Fund in 1990 and moved to Namibia to develop a permanent Conservation Research Centre for the wild cheetah. CCF’s groundbreaking activities are housed at their International Research and Education Centre in the main cheetah habitat of the country.
Ever since I saw a cheetah in real life when I was 12 year old, Cheetahs have always had a special place in my heart. Recently, on a safari in Tanzania I learned about their classification as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. This was a wake up call for me to contribute in saveguarding its survival. After several contacts with the CCF and Dr. Laurrie Marker, we decided to create a Chapter in Belgium in order to raise awareness on the dramatic situation of the Cheetah beyond the current reach of the CCF.
I have always been passionate about nature and animals, however it is only through a recent Safari in Tanzania that I fell in love with the African Wildlife and found out about the Cheetahs' race for survival. This made me decide to step up and contribute helping the Cheetah fight for their survival.
For as long as I can remember I’ve been passionate about nature and animals. That’s why, after graduating as an architect, I began my studies in veterinary medicine at the University of Ghent. I am particularly interested in wild animals, especially felines, which is why I have been a member of the EAZWV since 2013. In 2014, I worked as an intern at CCF where I did research on gastro-intestinal passage rate in cheetahs. I hope I get more opportunities to work with these beautiful animals in the future.
At a young age, I developed a love for the beauty of Mother Nature. Growing up in Kansas, U.S.A., I was fortunate enough to have a forest for my backyard and I seized every opportunity to go exploring amongst its many treasures. To this day, exploring the wild is still is a passion of mine. I love to travel, and I’m always up for an outdoor adventure, be it scuba-diving amongst sea turtles and sharks, or hiking in bear country. My story with CCF started in 2011 while working for U.N.E.S.C.O in Windhoek, Namibia. While living in Namibia, I had the privilege to meet biologists who worked for CCF Namibia and introduced me to the CCF’s work, and I also experienced first hand the incredible feeling of seeing a cheetah in the Namibian wilderness. I’ll never forget the grace and strength of the cheetah walking across the grassy plains, and it is that beauty that motivates me to work with CCF Belgium.
The cheetahs adventure is in my case a happy coincidence: as a modern languages teacher, I have been contacted by Vicky to translate a text for CCF and, doing that small task, I was immediately intrigued by the subject. The intrigue made room for concern when I discovered that the precarious situation of cheetahs is principally due to a human mistake: miscommunication. The association doesn’t content itself with fixing the damage and pointing at the guilty: it fights for teaching, re-educating, communicating better with the different actors. It is a wonderful solidarity project, in which every link assumes a primary importance and is nothing without the others. We learn together, we build together. And I wanted to be a part of this “together”.
I am an IT specialist, but my main interest in real life is the welfare of animals. I have been in love with cats for as long as I can remember. However, it was through TV that I got into contact with my favorite big cat: the Cheetah. Ever since I saw them I promised myself to do all I can to protect, help and love them. The first time I saw cheetahs in the wild was about 3 years ago in Tanzania. It was amazing! I was completely astonished by those spectacular yet fragile animals. It was the best day of my life... until next time I guess. Since this special moment I have been looking for a means to really care for cheetahs. Through CCF I am able to pursue this dream. I am now an active CCF Belgium member and together we can "Race for the Cheetah Survival".