Cheetah Conservation Fund founder to speak at Purdue

April 25, 2012

Laurie Marker

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Laurie Marker, founder and executive director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund, will speak at 12:30 p.m. Friday (April 27) in Purdue University's Lynn Hall of Veterinary Medicine.

Marker's talk, titled "A Race to the Future to Save the Wild Cheetah," is offered as part of the university's Discovery Lecture Series, which reflects interdisciplinary partnerships with several colleges at Purdue to highlight the 10-year celebration of Discovery Park. Sponsors of the talk, which is free and open to the public, are the Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine, Discovery Park and the Lilly Endowment.

As founder and executive director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund since 1990, Marker pioneered new ideas in cheetah conservation and has formed cooperative alliances on behalf of the cheetah that had never before been possible.

In 2000 Marker was recognized as one of Time magazine's Heroes for the Planet. In 2008 she received the Gold Medal Award from the Society of Women Geographers and the Conservation Medal of Lifetime Achievement Award from the Zoological Society of San Diego. She won the 2010 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement and twice was a finalist for the Indianapolis Prize, a biennial award initiated by the Indianapolis Zoo to recognize individual animal conservationists.

Marker will discuss her groundbreaking research in reintroducing captive-born cheetahs into the wild, an effort that began in 1977 in Namibia, Africa. She also will highlight her collaborations with the Smithsonian Institution and National Cancer Institute, which resulted in identifying the cheetah's extremely limited genetic makeup.

Through a $1 million gift to Discovery Park from the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment, Purdue launched the Discovery Lecture Series in 2006 to bring prominent speakers to campus.

Contact: Kevin Doerr, Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine, 765-494-8216,