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Meet a cheetah and find out about the big beautiful endangered cats

People coming to see a live cheetah at a house in Studio City
People coming to see a live cheetah at a house in Studio CityAllan Feldstein

One of the most wonderful fundraisers in the world I've ever been to is at a house in Studio City, Calif. with my nephew Donovan, and we met a live cheetah.

Most importantly, it was about the most endangered cat on the planet, the noble cheetah, and what can be done to help them.

Donovan was fascinated, we've gone twice. On Saturday, there's another fundraiser in Beverly Hills. You don't have to go to be a part of helping this amazing animal, and help it survive the problems the breed is facing.

See more about that here:

Thank you Alan Feldstein, who takes people to Africa on his amazing tours through Infinite Safari Adventures, is part of the Cheetah Conservation Fund, too, and has hosted the cheetah meet-ups over the past two years that I have attended.

It is truly a magical experience. See all the reasons why you should help and what you can do, and check out the great photos.

Spring Tour: Meetah Cheetah in Beverly Hills, CA

April 26 @ 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Please join Dr. Marker, Founder and Executive Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund, for CCF’s Annual cheetah event this year in Beverly Hills. This year’s event will be specially hosted by CCF Trustee Alan Feldstein, and CCF supporter Izzy Chait, at the IM Chait Gallery. Dr. Marker will continue her successful fundraising tour, in LA, with a book signing of her new picture book, A Future for Cheetahs.

Please join her to save the wild cheetah in its race against extinction and enjoy a visit from one of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s ambassador cheetahs!

$125 per person

Space is limited for this event! Click here

The most endangered cat
The most endangered cat Alan Feldstein

The most endangered cat

The cheetah is Africa’s most endangered cat. They once dominated the entire continent, and now they're in less than a quarter of their historic range sites.

Today, cheetahs are found in only 23% of their historic African range and are extinct in their Asian range except for a small population in Iran of about 100 individuals.

There were more than 100,000 cheetahs in Africa in 1900, now there are fewer than 10,000.

The reasons:

Habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation

Human-wildlife conflict

Illegal wildlife trade

Dr. Laurie Marker and her passion
Dr. Laurie Marker and her passion Alan Feldstein

Dr. Laurie Marker and her passion

Dr. Laurie Marker, founder and Executive Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund, (pictured here with a cheetah and Alan Feldstein) is passionate about helping the endangered cat.

She said,  "I would love to have you get involved with the Cheetah Conservation Fund, and hope you have seen our Chewbaaka Memorial Challenge communications.  This is such an important fundraising effort for us and I hope that you can help support us."

The cheetah struggle
The cheetah struggle Alan Feldstein

The cheetah struggle

These beautiful beasts need large areas of land with water and suitable prey in order to survive.

The destruction of wild land has eroded the habitat for the cheetah and that is making the remaining wild cheetahs struggling for survival.


Spots in history
Spots in history Alan Feldstein

Spots in history

Acheetah is the world’s fastest land animal and can hit speeds of nearly 100 mphs in just over three seconds. 

The coat of a cheetah is covered with black spots. Royalty in ancient Egypt kept them as companions and they were used for hunting.

Great for kids
Great for kids Donovan Sylla

Great for kids

My nephew, Donovan Sylla, was fascinated by the history and meeting of a a live cheetah. Many children have raised money on their own to help the endangered cats.

Donovan noted that the cheetahs he has witnessed up close and personal have the same characteristics and personality traits as our house cats.

Although you won't be able to get close enough to pet a cheetah, you will get close, and it's fascinating to watch. Children are encouraged to learn about them, and there are special fun facts to learn about them.  


A dog and a cheetah
A dog and a cheetah Mike Szymanski

A dog and a cheetah

We learned about these beautiful Anatolian dogs that help guard some of the areas in the cheetah reserves.

In Namibia, farmers are learning about the Cheetah Conservation Foundation's model farm, livestock guarding dogs and cheetahs and human wildlife conflict solutions. In addition, there is a vet clinic and genetic lab to teach locals how to identify both cheetahs and other Namibian animals from their scat and tracks. 

Genetic diversity
Genetic diversity Alan Feldstein

Genetic diversity

About 75 percent of the world's largest mammals died about 12,000 years ago in a mass extinction event and fortunately, a handful of cheetahs survived, but it caused an extreme reduction in genetic diversity. That has resulted in problems with breeding, which is also caused by human expansion and consumption and unstable environmental conditions. On their faces, the large cats have distinctive black “tear marks” that run from the inside corner of their eyes down to the edge of their mouth and you won't see marks like that in leopards.

World's leading cheetah saviors
World's leading cheetah saviors Laurie

World's leading cheetah saviors

The Cheetah Conservation Fund is now the world’s leading organization dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild. It was created by Dr. Laurie Marker in 1990. It has hands-on conservation efforts and outreach educational programs.

The group's conservation programming maintains a research program on the biology, ecological issues and genetics of cheetahs.

Amazing fundraisers
Amazing fundraisers Alan Feldstein

Amazing fundraisers

Not only are there face-to-face meet-ups with live cheetahs, but there are internships and wildlife excursions into the African countryside.

They hold lectures around the world, and other types of fascinating fundraisers. See the schedule here:

Cheetah Conversation Fund
Cheetah Conversation Fund Allan Feldstein

Cheetah Conversation Fund

Find out more at the Cheetah Conversation Fund at

There's also a blog and a newsletter:

Read stories about tourists visiting the center here:

Why cheetahs are fast
Why cheetahs are fast Alan Feldstein

Why cheetahs are fast

This cat, which is often mixed up with a leopard, is built to go fast. It has long legs and a very slender body. In many ways it is very different from any other cat. They are lighter and leander than leopards, and they stand taller and have long slender legs.


Why are they dying?
Why are they dying? Donovan Sylla

Why are they dying?

These majestic creatures are still hunted even in protected areas like national parks and wildlife reserves. The cheetah does not do as well as other larger predators like the lion, leopard, and hyena.

The cheetah cub death rate could be as high as 90 percent. So, the cheetah does prey on farm animals and farmers often trap and shoot the predators. 

Believe it or not, there is still a high demand for the large cats as pets, and so they are illegally caught. Only one in six cheetah cubs survive being smuggled illegally. The whole thing is very sad.