Laurie Marker returned to Canada in early fall 2015 as part of her 25th Anniversary North American tour. We welcomed her to Toronto and London on September 30th and October 1st. Dr. Marker’s visit was the fourth to Canada in the last four years, and gave her a chance to meet business executives, young children who are committed cheetah champions and great crowds at her public lectures in London and Toronto.
A packed schedule over the two days provided an opportunity to raise awareness about the wide range of programs in which Cheetah Conservation Fund is engaged, why these programs matter to Canadians and ways in which Canadians can get more involved in helping to save the cheetah.
Dr. Marker emphasized that the cheetah survival depends on:
At the 15th Risk Mitigation & CSR Seminar, hosted by the Canada – South-African Chamber of Business, Dr. Marker spoke to more than 80 executives and policy experts about how mining companies can collaborate with conservation NGOs to strengthen their corporate social responsibility and help protect biodiversity and improve livelihoods for people in the communities in which they operate. Dr. Marker noted that CCF’s projects are based on an assessment of people’s needs and help women gain more sustainable livelihoods, support farmers in improving their livestock management approaches and provide school outreach to young learners about conservation and the environment. CCF partners with others through the cheetah’s range – Namibia, Botswana, Niger, Benin, Kenya, Angola, South Africa, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Algeria, UAE and Iran.
“CSR projects need to be part of regional development plans that addresses economic, social and environmental issues, not only during the mine operations but also after the mine closure. Conservation NGOs can provide continuity” said Dr. Marker
She continued by saying: “CSR programs usually invest in infrastructure, building social capital and building human capital – most NGOs have experience and programs in all these areas.”
For Dr. Marker’s presentation link here.
Dr. Marker met with The Toronto Star’s Environment Reporter, Raveena Aulakh, for an extensive one-on-one about the critical role that science plays in understanding cheetah populations, and how CCF’s conservation ecology knowledge is shared with others in helping to save cheetahs. The full interview was released on October 31, 2015.
Next stop for Dr. Marker was a public lecture in London, two hours west of Toronto. This was Dr. Marker’s first time in London and there were close to 80 guests in attendance, from London, from other communities in Ontario and from Michigan and New York State. Dr. Marker provided a comprehensive update on CCF’s work, including the Livestock Guarding Dog program, the Dairy Goat initiative, the Bushblok advancements, the Waterberg Conservancy project, the illegal pet trade and much more. The talk lasted over 90 minutes and was reported by CTV nightly news.
Back to Toronto on the 1st of October, Dr. Marker gave a talk to more than 90 Grade 8 students in a north Toronto school who learned about why cheetahs are endangered, what makes them the fastest land animal in existence, and what it will take to help save them from extinction. The students, who are studying issues of global sustainability, also learned that humans and wildlife can live in harmony, but that this means that conservationists need to work with people in local communities.
A very special event was organized for more than a dozen young people who had celebrated their birthdays in honour of Cheetah Conservation Fund Canada, through ECHOage. These children, ranging in age from 6 to 12, and their parents met Dr. Laurie – “The Cheetah Lady” – and took part in an interactive session about the anatomy and physiology of cheetahs, to help the children understand what makes cheetahs so fast. These children were very well informed about cheetahs, and also had some great questions for Dr. Marker.
The final event for Dr. Marker was a public lecture in Toronto, held at Shamba Space in downtown Toronto. Our two sponsors for the event helped create a very special experience for attendees with great networking, photobooth, a silent auction, book signing and a dynamic lecture by Dr. Marker.