Namibia’s foremost cheetah researcher, Dr Laurie Marker, was presented with the prestigious Lowell Thomas Award at the Explorers Club annual dinner held in New York City recently.
Marker, the founder and executive director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), has been awarded for outstanding achievements in the field of exploration.
She was presented with the award on October 23. This year’s Lowell Thomas Award centred on the theme ‘Exploring Extinction. Is It Forever?’
She was recognised for her work of over three decades to stabilise cheetah numbers in the wild through research, education and building partnerships.
Wildlife expert Jim Fowler nominated Marker for the award based on her efforts to unite a nation, a continent, and the world, in the effort to save the cheetah.
“She learned that with improved livestock and wildlife management techniques, cheetahs, people and livestock can peacefully co-exist,” said Fowler.
The Explorers Club’s award is named in honour of Lowell Thomas, whose ambition was “to know more about this globe than anyone else ever has”, travelled to remote sites around the world in the early 1900s and led the way for modern explorers and scientists.
In response Marker said she was “honoured to be a recipient of this important award, which to me represents respect for the solid and objective way in which I have conducted my cheetah research and conservation work”.
Marker founded the non-profit Cheetah Conservation Fund in 1990 and based its international centre in Namibia, the country with the largest remaining wild cheetah population.
The world population of wild cheetahs is at approximately 10 000 and is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
The awards is an addition to a number of prestigious awards she has won because of her great commitment to the protection of the cheetah