So why December 4th for International Cheetah Day?
It is the birthday of Khayam, a cheetah Dr. Marker raised from a cub at Wildlife Safari, in Oregon. Khayam was trained for the first research project in rewilding and inspired her first trip to Namibia in 1977.
(Not sure who the photographer was, but the way Dr Marker looks at Khayam tugs at my heart)
Dr. Marker took Khayam to Africa to see if she could be taught to hunt in the wild. Through trial and error, Dr. Marker was successful in her efforts, and she eventually brought Khayam back to the US. It was during this time that Dr. Marker found out about how cheetahs were being exterminated by Namibian farmers who viewed them as vermin, and she vowed to do something about it. So Dr. Marker became the cheetah’s champion because of Khayam, and chose this animal’s birthday as a day to promote cheetah conservation in honor of her memory.
The Cheetah that will always be in my heart and that have fueled my love for Cheetahs since childhood even more, Chewbaaka. Visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF)
Image by Christoph Lepetit
Charlie and I returned from a wonderful day at Chehaw in Albany, GA. We felt that this would be the perfect place to celebrate International Cheetah Day. What better place than where you can spend the day with two gorgeous Cheetahs sisters.
Ellie wasn't too sure about the "other Cheetah" out on the table, lol!
Ellie and Roswell are 2 resident Cheetahs at Chehaw. This was a very special occasion because unless you are in Africa somewhere with Cheetahs in the wild, the only other opportunity is at a park where there are ambassador Cheetahs. We call them Ambassadors because the Cheetahs that are in captivity at accredited AZA Zoos play a very important roll in education and raising awareness.
Ellie whispering in Roswell's ear, "Ros, it is International Cheetah Day, they are celebrating us" :)
Unlike their cousins in the wild, visitors can get a closer view and not just see them from closer, but in some cases even hear them purr. Unlike other big cats that can't purr, Cheetahs can.
Here with me, Samantha Sassone Kerns, head Zoo Keeper at Chehaw
We want to thank Chehaw and their amazing staff for their support of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in Namibia. With support like Chehaw's, the Cheetah can outrun extinction.
The most important thing to remember is to celebrate our wildlife every day, we do not know for how much longer we will have them around.
Leaving a message outside our cabin to remind everyone about International Cheetah Day on Dec 4th. :)
We most certainly hope to see more of you next time. The 3 1/2 hour drive from Atlanta is well worth a weekend at Chehaw in one of their nice cozy cabins. Anything for our Cheetahs <3
All images unless otherwise specified copyright Charlie Close and Edi Arangies