“2 Thumbs Up Award -757 Imperiled Species protected”

The “Two Thumbs Up Award”  goes to the Center of Biological Diversity and the the US Fish and Wildlife Service and an enlightened federal judge for helping save 757 threatened species. Thank you from Mother Nature and all of us at Nature’s Crusaders.


Court Approves Historic Agreement to Speed Endangered Species Act Protection for 757 Imperiled Species

Walrus, Wolverine, Albatross, Fisher, Mexican Gray Wolf, Sage Grouse,
Golden Trout Among Those Fast-tracked for Protection

TUCSON, Ariz.— A federal judge today approved a landmark legal agreement between the Center for Biological Diversity and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requiring the agency to make initial or final decisions on whether to add hundreds of imperiled plants and animals to the federal endangered species list by 2018. The court also approved an agreement with another conservation group that it had previously blocked based on legal opposition from the Center.

“The court’s approval today will allow this historic agreement to move forward, speeding protection for as many as 757 of America’s most imperiled species,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center. “The historic agreement gives species like the Pacific walrus, American wolverine and California golden trout a shot at survival.”

The Center wrote scientific listing petitions and/or filed lawsuits to protect the 757 species as part of its decade-long campaign to safeguard 1,000 of America’s most imperiled, least protected species. Spanning every taxonomic group, the species protected by the agreement include 26 birds, 31 mammals, 67 fish, 22 reptiles, 33 amphibians, 197 plants and 381 invertebrates.

“With approval of the agreement, species from across the nation will be protected,” said Greenwald. “Habitat destruction, climate change, invasive species and other factors are pushing species toward extinction in all 50 states, and this agreement will help turn the tide.”

Individual species included in the agreement include the walrus, wolverine, Mexican gray wolf, New England cottontail rabbit, three species of sage grouse, scarlet Hawaiian honeycreeper (‘i‘iwi), California golden trout and Rio Grande cutthroat trout — as well as 403 southeastern river-dependent species, 42 Great Basin springsnails and 32 Pacific Northwest mollusks.

The agreement, formalized today with the judge’s approval, was signed by the Center and the Fish and Wildlife Service on July 12. Already dozens of species have been proposed for listing, including the Miami blue butterfly, one of the rarest butterflies in the United States.

While the agreement encompasses nearly all the species on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s official list of “candidates” for Endangered Species Act protection, two-thirds of the species in the agreement (499) are not on the list. This corresponds with the conclusion of numerous scientists and scientific societies that the extinction crisis is vastly greater than existing federal priority systems and budgets.

“The Endangered Species Act specifically allows scientists, conservationists and others to submit petitions to protect species,” said Greenwald. “These petitions play a critical role in identifying species in need and help the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with the ever-expanding task of protecting species threatened with extinction.”

The species in the agreement occur in all 50 states and several Pacific island territories. The top three states in the agreement are Alabama, Georgia and Florida, with 149, 121 and 115 species respectively. Hawaii has 70, Nevada 54, California 51, Washington 36, Arizona 31, Oregon 24, Texas 22 and New Mexico 18.

An interactive map and a full list of the 757 species broken down by state, taxonomy, name and schedule of protection are available here.

Highlighted species are below.

Species Highlights

American wolverine: A bear-like carnivore, the American wolverine is the largest member of the weasel family. It lives in mountainous areas of the West, where it depends on late-spring snowpacks for denning. The primary threats to its existence are shrinking snowpacks related to global warming, excessive trapping and harassment by snowmobiles.

The Center for Biological Diversity and allies petitioned to list the wolverine as an endangered species in 1994. It was placed on the candidate list in 2010. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose it for protection (or determine it does not qualify) in 2013 and finalize the decision in 2014 if warranted.

Pacific walrus: A large, ice-loving, tusk-bearing pinniped, the Pacific walrus plays a major role in the culture and religion of many northern peoples. Like the polar bear, it is threatened by the rapid and accelerating loss of Arctic sea ice and oil drilling.

The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to list it as an endangered species in 2007. It was placed on the candidate list in 2011. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose it for protection (or determine it does not qualify) in 2017 and finalize the decision in 2018 if warranted.

Mexican gray wolf: Exterminated from, then reintroduced to the Southwest, the Mexican gray wolf lives in remote forests and mountains along the Arizona-New Mexico border. It is threatened by legal and illegal killing, which has hampered the federal recovery program, keeping the species down to 50 wild animals.

The Center for Biological Diversity and allies petitioned to list it as an endangered species separate from other wolves in 2009. It is not on the candidate list. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose it for protection (or determine it does not qualify) in 2012 and finalize the decision in 2013 if warranted.

Black-footed albatross: A large, dark-plumed seabird that lives in northwestern Hawaii, the black-footed albatross is threatened by longline swordfish fisheries, which kill it as bycatch.

The Center for Biological Diversity and allies petitioned to list this albatross as an endangered species in 2004. It is not on the candidate list. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose it for protection, determine it does not qualify, or find that it is warranted but precluded for protection in 2011.

Rio Grande cutthroat trout: Characterized by deep crimson slashes on its throat — hence the name “cutthroat” — the Rio Grande cutthroat is New Mexico’s state fish. It formerly occurred throughout high-elevation streams in the Rio Grande Basin of New Mexico and southern Colorado. Logging, road building, grazing, pollution and exotic species have pushed it to the brink of extinction.

The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to list it as an endangered species in 1998. It was placed on the candidate list in 2008. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose it for protection (or determine it does not qualify) in 2014 and finalize the decision in 2015 if warranted.

403 Southeast aquatic species: The southeastern United States contains the richest aquatic biodiversity in the nation, harboring 62 percent of the country’s fish species (493 species), 91 percent of its mussels (269 species) and 48 percent of its dragonflies and damselflies (241 species). Unfortunately the wholesale destruction, diversion, pollution and development of the Southeast’s rivers have made the region America’s aquatic extinction capital.

In 2010, the Center for Biological Diversity completed a 1,145-page, peer-reviewed petition to list 403 Southeast aquatic species as endangered, including the Florida sandhill crane, MacGillivray’s seaside sparrow, Alabama map turtle, Oklahoma salamander, West Virginia spring salamander, Tennessee cave salamander, Black Warrior waterdog, Cape Sable orchid, clam-shell orchid, Florida bog frog, Lower Florida Keys striped mud turtle, eastern black rail and streamside salamander.

Only 18 of Southeast aquatic species are on the candidate list. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will issue initial listing decisions on all 403 plants and animals in 2011.

Pacific fisher: A cat-like relative of minks and otters, the fisher is the only animal that regularly preys on porcupines. It lives in old-growth forests in California, Oregon and Washington, where it is threatened by logging.

The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to list the fisher as an endangered species in 2000. It was placed on the candidate list in 2004. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose it for protection (or determine it does not qualify) in 2014 and finalize the decision in 2015 if warranted.

Cactus ferruginous pygmy owl: A tiny desert raptor, active in the daytime, the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl lives in southern Arizona and northern Mexico. It is threatened by urban sprawl and nearly extirpated from Arizona.

The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to list it as an endangered species in 1992. It was protected in 1997, then delisted on technical grounds in 2006. The Center repetitioned to protect it in 2007. It is not on the candidate list. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose it for protection (or determine it does not qualify) in 2011 and finalize the decision in 2012 if warranted.

42 Great Basin springsnails: Living in isolated springs of the Great Basin and Mojave deserts, springsnails play important ecological roles cycling nutrients, filtering water and providing food to other animals. Many are threatened by a Southern Nevada Water Authority plan to pump remote, desert groundwater to Las Vegas.

In 2009, the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to list 42 springsnails as endangered species, including the duckwater pyrg, Big Warm Spring pyrg and Moapa pebblesnail. None are on the candidate list. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will issue initial listing decisions on all 42 species in 2011.

Scarlet Hawaiian honeycreeper (Iiwi): This bright-red bird hovers like a hummingbird and has long been featured in the folklore and songs of native Hawaiians. It is threatened by climate change, which is causing mosquitoes that carry introduced diseases — including avian pox and malaria — to move into the honeycreeper’s higher-elevations refuges. It has been eliminated from low elevations on all islands by these diseases.

The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to list it as an endangered species in 2010. It is not on the candidate list. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose it for protection (or determine it does not qualify) in 2016 and finalize the decision in 2017 if warranted.

Ashy storm petrel: A small, soot-colored seabird that lives off coastal waters from California to Baja, Mexico, the ashy storm petrel looks like it’s walking on the ocean surface when it feeds. It is threatened by warming oceans, sea-level rise and ocean acidification.

The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to list it as an endangered species in 2007. It is not on the candidate list. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose it for protection (or determine it does not qualify) in 2013 and finalize the decision in 2014 if warranted.

Greater and Mono Basin sage grouse: Sage grouse are showy, ground-dwelling birds that perform elaborate mating dances, with males puffing up giant air sacks on their chests. The Mono Basin sage grouse lives in Nevada and California. The greater sage grouse lives throughout much of the Interior West. Both are threatened by oil and gas drilling, livestock grazing, development and off-road vehicles.

The Center for Biological Diversity and allies petitioned to list the Mono Basin sage grouse as an endangered species in 2005. It was placed on the candidate list in 2010. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose it for protection (or determine it does not qualify) in 2013 and finalize the decision in 2014 if warranted.

The greater sage grouse was petitioned for listing in 2002 and placed on the candidate list in 2010. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose it for protection (or determine it does not qualify) in 2015 and finalize the decision in 2016 if warranted.

Miami blue butterfly: An ethereal beauty native to South Florida and possibly the most endangered insect in the United States, the Miami blue

was thought extinct after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 but rediscovered in 1999. It is threatened by habitat loss and pesticide spraying.

It was petitioned for listing as an endangered species in 2000 and placed on the candidate list in 2005. The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to list it on an emergency basis in 2011. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was required to propose it for protection (or determine it does not qualify) in 2012 and finalize the decision in 2013 if warranted. In August, the agency protected the butterfly on an emergency basis. 

Oregon spotted frog: The Oregon spotted frog lives in wetlands from southernmost British Columbia through Washington and Oregon to northernmost California. It is threatened by habitat destruction and exotic species.


Press release provided by The Center for Biological Diversity http://goo.gl/DlFGk

Image courtesy of  http://goo.gl/bl00h

Image Ca. Golden trout courtesy of dfg.ca.gov http://goo.gl/1nNls

Image Pacific walrus courtesy of farnorthscience.com  http://goo.gl/P6MJE

Image Miami Blue butterfly courtesy of dep.state.fl.us  http://goo.gl/nTRNf

Image Oregon spotted frog courtesy of blm.gov  http://goo.gl/Cin8a


“Victory for threatened species”

House Votes Down ‘Extinction Rider’ That Would Have Halted Spending to
Protect New Species Under the Endangered Species Act

TWO THUMBS UP AWARD Center for Biological Diversity

In a victory for imperiled species, the U.S. House of Representatives today voted not to include the “extinction rider” in an appropriations bill that would have stopped the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from spending any money to protect new species under the Endangered Species Act or to designate “critical habitat” for their survival. The House voted 224-202 in favor of an amendment from Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) to strip the “extinction rider” from the Interior department’s appropriation bill.

“The extinction rider would have been a disaster for hundreds of animals and plants across the country that desperately need the help of the Endangered Species Act to survive,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species program director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “Today’s vote is a promising sign for wolverines, walruses and species in all 50 states that, without help, face the very real prospect of extinction.”

Plants and animals across the country are at heightened risk of extinction due to habitat destruction, global climate change, extreme weather events and other factors. Earlier this month the Center and the Fish and Wildlife Service reached a landmark agreement to speed protection for 757 imperiled U.S. species, including the wolverine, Pacific walrus, Rio Grand cutthroat trout and Mexican gray wolf.

For more information Center for Biodiversity

TWO THUMBS UP AWARD goes to the Center for Biodiversity and everyone that has helped save our threatened and endangered species.-“Thanks” from Mother Nature


Wolverine  Wikimedia.org

Walrus  Wikimedia.org

Grey wolf pups  Natures Crusaders library

“6 young gorillas go home”

They’re home!

Back in the Democratic Republic of Congo, their country of origin, where they can safely begin their new life in the best possible location.
Six endangered Grauer’s gorillas were airlifted from a rehabilitation facility in Rwanda to a center in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) this weekend. The gorillas will remain at the center until they are ready to be released back to the wild. The two-day operation included a helicopter airlift with the primates moved one at a time from Goma to the Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education (GRACE) center near Kasugho, DRC.
Help IFAW continue to rescue and return wild animals to their native homes.

Image and excerpts courtesy of the International Fund for Animals.

Thanks for keeping up the great work for Mother Nature’s best!

“To decorate the web or not?”

Orb weaving spiders choose to become more ornate – so some say.

Decorative white silk crosses are an ingenious tactic used by orb-weaving spiders to protect their webs from damage, a new study from the University of Melbourne has revealed.
The team, led by Dr Andre Walter and Professor Mark Elgar from the University of Melbourne’s Department of Zoology, found that orb-weaving spiders respond to severe damage to their webs by building bigger silk crosses, but if the damage is mild they don’t bother adding extra decoration.
Professor Mark Elgar said web damage is costly for spiders as a lot of nutritional resources are required to rebuild a web. “So they evolved this ingenious way to minimise unwanted damage,” he said.
“It’s much like we mark glass windows with tape to prevent people walking into them,” he said.
The team collected a group of orb-weaving spiders and left them to build their webs in the laboratory. Some of the completed webs were severely damaged, others lightly damaged and the remainder left alone. The response of the spiders was then observed.
“The fact that spiders increased their decorating activity in response to severe damage but didn’t increase their decorating following light damage suggests that the conspicuous building of silk crosses serves to make webs more visible to animals that might accidentally walk or fly into them,” Professor Elgar said.

A spider web, spiderweb, spider’s web or cobweb (from the obsolete word coppe, meaning “spider”) is a device built by a spider out of proteinaceous spider silk extruded from its spinnerets.
Spider webs have existed for at least 140 million years, as witnessed in a rare find of Early Cretaceous amber from Sussex, southern England.
Spiders originally started producing silk for reasons other than web-making. When spiders moved from the water to the land in the Early Devonian period, they started making silk to protect their bodies and their eggs. Spiders gradually started using silk for hunting purposes, first as guide lines and signal lines, then as ground or bush webs, and eventually as the aerial webs which are so famous today.

The “typical” orb-weaver spiders (family Araneidae) are the most common group of builders of spiral wheel-shaped webs often found in gardens, fields and forests. Their common name is taken from the round shape of this typical web, and the taxon was formerly also referred to as the Orbiculariae.

Orb-weavers have eight similar eyes, legs hairy or spiny and no stridulating organs. The Araneidae family is cosmopolitan, including many well-known large or brightly colored garden spiders. There are 3,006 species in 168 genera worldwide, making Araneidae the third largest family of spiders known (behind Salticidae and Linyphiidae). The orb-weavers include over 10,000 species and make up about 25% of spider diversity.

Excerpts courtesy of  html  http://bit.ly/issR6Q

Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/mvM4Fq
Excerpts courtesy of    http://bit.ly/k6lf32
Image 1.  courtesy of   http://bit.ly/lGmrUu
Image 2. courtesy of    http://bit.ly/lGmrUu

Image 3.

“Road rage squashed elephant style” http://wp.me/pd14G-1RG


These photos are from Thursday, Feb. 17 by someone from Centurion in Pilanesberg game reserve, South Africa .

The guy in the white Volkswagen was trying to get past the elephant.

Road rage certainly effects us all. This elephant has a unique calm approach to putting the raging driver in his place.

Thsnks for sending them Joline.-Mother Nature  author unknown














Road rage, it affects us all

“Surfing turned to saving lobsters”

L.A. science fair brings out new dedicated  young genius to help Mother Nature

It was a passion for surfing that helped lead Adrienne McColl to the final round of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles this week.

After fracturing her back twice during her sophomore year, Adrienne McColl put away her surfboard, but not her love for sea life. At the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, To pursue her passion she began researching ways to turn the declining numbers of California spiny lobstersby finding a way to keep lobster larvae alive longer to boost their survival as adult lobster.

She has found a way to keep the larvae alive in a lab for 179 days. This may not seem like much until you consider that this time represents more than two months longer than any professional research biologists has achieved.

Adrienne McColl was named winner of the animal sciences division for her project, “Effects of Food Types on Survival and Development of Larval California Spiny Lobsters, Panulirus interruptus.”

Friday from among a field of more than 1,500 finalists from as far away as Argentina, Kazakhstan, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, and students from California when her name was announced her fellow competitors gave her a standing ovation.

She won $8,000 in scholarship money, said she’ll be studying aquaculture and fisheries next year at the University of Washington.
Congratulations Adrienne McColl for helping  Mother Nature


Excerpts courtesy of   http://lat.ms/lTAice 

Image courtesy of   http://bit.ly/kwdzBl 

“Can you help Mixer and friends?”

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), pet rescue team in Johannesburg has come across some desperate situations through the years. But this one stunned even them. They would like to share it with you.

In Africa, AIDS is at epidemic proportions. Sadly, there are many children left as orphans when their parents pass away from the awful disease.

At an AIDS hospice near to IFAW’s veterinary clinic, people suffering from AIDS receive emotional and financial

support for themselves and their families. Many of the needy are mothers with young children.

It was to this AIDS clinic that a desperately hungry woman arrived with a sweet puppy named Mixer. She was so desperate to feed her family, in fact, that she came to the clinic to trade their beloved puppy for food for her children.

The hospice, of course, gave assistance to her and her family. And they took in Mixer – not as payment for the food, but because they didn’t want Mixer to be a burden on the struggling family.

The hospice then called IFAW, and we immediately fetched Mixer and brought him back to our veterinary clinic.

Mixer is such a sweet puppy – and he has taken quite a liking to a litter of kittens also at the clinic. He curls up and sleeps with them and gently plays with them.

It’s heartbreaking to think of the struggle that so many families dealing with AIDS face every day. The work of the AIDS hospice and other human-aid charities is so needed.

Of course, the pets of these families, and many other animals in these impoverished communities, also face great hardship and desperately need help.Without us, these animals have chance for survival.

They’d likely end up on the street with no food, and they’d quickly face starvation. And they’d be easy targets for painful infections like mange, heartworm, and the many other diseases that afflict street dogs. Even if they did survive, they’d likely live a life of great suffering.

The IFAW’s clinic and friends like you have saved Mixer and his kitten friends and given them a chance to find loving new homes, free from the threat of starvation and painful diseases.

Please make a donation today to help IFAW rescue animals, care for them, and find them new homes.

Thanks for your donation to puppies like Mixer and his friends.

Story and Image courtesy of   http://bit.ly/lgNOgw

“Going to Mars? Don’t forget to pack your house flies.”

Putting the Common Housefly onto the dinner plate

Bring housefly food to store near you.

Going to Mars? Don’t forget to pack your house flies.

Growing and harvesting house fly larvae for human nutrition is a ways off, but Musca domestica the common house fly will be grown and made into human food for the long flights to Mars. Until then, this insect larvae hold real promise in taking the pressure off of the traditional animal based nutrient resources and wild populations on Earth. The firm’s insectary grow beds commonly yield seventy pounds of clean larvae per square foot per year. A variety of organic materials and agriculture wastes can be used as grow medium.

Applications for insect food tech could include:

cleaning for poultry barns. fecal wastes of the insects themselves have application as fertilizer. food products for avian and aquatic use in private and public animal collections. nerve and optical studies, water absorption in farmed fish pollination. fine oils and cosmetics. wildlife rehabilitation for insect based diets or supplements, cage bird propagation, wild bird food and, most recently, all natural (not organic) poultry boosters, mimicking free range diet, to enhance egg production and quality.

Products have been made from live, dehydrated and frozen larvae and pupae either whole, ground, pelleted or liquefied.

How tasty are these fly based foods? Early research suggests that human will eat it and it is palatable. Only used in novelty foods today, tomorrow house fly larvae may come in many forms to stores near you. Research began in Oregon in 1975 to farming of Musca domestica, the common housefly.

Fly Farm Systems has a patent pending on the techniques and apparatus of its proprietary insect husbandry system.

The firm is seeking to license partners for application world wide.

Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/m4pb7Q

Image courtesy of   http://bit.ly/mINjDg

“Apes’ voice change signals good food”

Bonobos ‘chat’ about good foods
By Ella Davies
Earth News reporter


Bark and peep for a kiwi

Bonobos communicate where to find their favourite food using barks and peeps, scientists have found.

In the first study of its kind, researchers in the UK found the apes gave each other specific details about food quality.

The combination of five distinct calls into sequences allowed others to concentrate their foraging around areas known to contain preferred kiwi fruits.

Scientists say the evidence suggests an extensive intelligence in the species.

Bonobos grunt when they encounter food, in a similar way to their close cousins chimpanzees, as a way of communicating their find to the group.

In these situations however, bonobos are also known to give four more distinct calls.

Scientists from the University of St Andrews, Scotland wanted to test whether bonobo vocalisations were a reliable indicator of food quality.

“We always suspected that bonobos may be able to understand something from listening to each others vocalisations, but so far, nobody had done an experiment to test it,” said primate expert Dr Zanna Clay.

They recorded the calls made by the apes at Twycross Zoo, UK when they encountered kiwi fruits and apples in their enclosure.

Researchers found that when the bonobos discovered their preferred food, kiwis, they emitted higher pitched long barks and short “peeps”.

When the bonobos found less-preferred apples they made lower pitch “peep-yelps” and yelps.

The primates made these calls in sequences which the researchers recorded and played back to others.

Scientists observed that the successive foragers were then able to direct their search to specific locations after listening to the calls.

When the calls were less acoustically distinct, the foraging activity was more confused, the researchers report in the journal PLoS One.

However, the foraging bonobos were observed making much more effort at sites communicated with high-preference calls in order to find their favourite kiwis.

Scientists point to this behaviour as evidence that the call sequences convey meaning about the quality of food in a specific location.

“These animals are highly intelligent and this kind of study highlights their ability to extract meaning from listening to each other’s vocalisations,” said Dr Clay.

Dr Clay explained that although bonobos’ communication is not comparable to that of humans, their listening skills are remarkable.

Banya, a bonobo involved in the study (c) Zanna Clay

Banya was one of the bonobos involved in the study

“Although we found that the bonobos produce sequences of calls, the way they produce them is unlike syntax in language, or how we structure words and sentences together in strings,” she said.

“However, the way that the listening bonobos interpreted these sequences as meaningful shows some similarities with how we listen to language and understand it.”

Together with chimpanzees, bonobos are man’s closest living relatives and both have large brains in comparison to their body size.

Unlike chimpanzees however, male bonobos do not engage in aggressive raids on neighbouring territories.

The species are also known as the “emotional” apes for their use of peaceful communication, particularly sexual contact, to diffuse community disputes.

Thanks to BBC for this article.

Shared courtesy of BBC    http://bbc.in/mNaYdO

“The ultimate cheetah dies”

CCF logo

Chewbaaka, the beloved cheetah ambassador for the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia. A systemic infection caused by an attack of a rabid kudu that had jumped into his enclosure in late February  caused his passing. At almost 16 years old, Chewbaaka had far surpassed the typical lifespan of a captive cheetah, which is 12 to 13 years. Because he had been vaccinated for rabies, the disease did not contribute to his death.

“I do hope that all who have had the pleasure of knowing him will keep his memory alive, as a gentle ambassador for his species,” said Dr. Laurie Marker, founder and Executive Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund. “He lived an amazing life and shared so much with so many. We will follow in his footsteps.”

In July 1995, a rancher’s dog killed all but one of a litter of cheetah cubs. The farmer brought the 10-day-old survivor to Marker. Extremely ill, the cub required round-the-clock nursing by Marker for several weeks. An intern suggested they name the cub after Han Solo’s furry sidekick in the original Star Wars movie. As few Namibians had seen the movie, his name was a curiosity his entire life.

Due to his hand-rearing by Marker, Chewbaaka became so habituated to people that he could be brought out to the bush to meet visitors, including children, without a collar or leash. Yet he still retained many wild cheetah behaviours, such as the instinct to climb and mark “playtrees”–trees with low limbs that cheetahs frequent to keep track of other cheetahs in the area. He also chased a lure, reaching speeds in excess of 50 mph, to demonstrate the species’ incredible acceleration and speed. Tens of thousands of visitors to CCF over the years met the regal cheetah. He had been featured in dozens of television shows and magazine articles about CCF.

Chewbaaka was raised with an Anatolian shepherd, Koya, at CCF’s International Research and Education Centre. Marker breeds Anatolians, a Turkish breed, to give to livestock farmers to protect their small stock from predators. Koya and Chewbaaka became such constant companions that the two were often brought out to meet the public together so that Marker could explain to guests the role the guarding dogs were playing in saving the cheetah. Numerous zoos around the world have followed suit, raising young cheetahs with Anatolians to use as “ambassadors.”

Chewbaaka was chosen as the cheetah representative for the Genome 10K, an ambitious project to map the genetics of 10,000 vertebrates in five years. His DNA will be used to map the species’ genome.


Dr. Laurie Marker with Koya and Chewbaaka

CCF’s Executive Director, Dr. Laurie Marker, with Anatolian shepherd Koya, and Ambassador Chewbaaka. (c) Cheetah Conservation Fund

Chewbaaka - An Ambassador of its Species

Chewbaaka, an Ambassador of its species. (c) Cheetah Conservation Fund

Dr. Marker caring for Chewbaaka in his last days.

CCF’s Executive Director, Dr. Laurie Marker, shared a bond with Chewbaaka since the cat arrived at CCF as a 10-day old cub. (c) Cheetah Conservation Fund, 2011.


Editor’s notes:

  • The Cheetah Conservation Fund is a Namibian non-profit trust dedicated to the long-term survival of the cheetah and its ecosystems.
  • Since 1990, the organisation has developed education and conservation programmes based on its extensive bio-medical and ecological cheetah research studies, published scientific research papers and has presented educational programmes to more than 350,000 outreach school learners, donated over 370 livestock guarding dogs to commercial and communal farmers as part of the CCF innovative non-lethal livestock management programme, and has established a cheetah genome resource bank of cheetah sperm, tissue and blood samples.
  • Research into cheetah biology and ecology has greatly increased our understanding of the fastest land animal and education programmes for schools and the farming community help change public attitudes to allow predator and humans to co-exist. However, despite the many successes of CCF programmes, the cheetah is still Africa’s most endangered big cat with ~10,000 cheetahs remaining.

Please make a donation in Chewbaaka honor today.

For more information:

Cheetah Conservation Fund
PO Box 1755, Otjiwarongo, Namibia
Tel: +264 (0) 67 306225
Fax: +264 (0) 67 306247
E-mail: cheetah@iway.na
Website: http://www.cheetah.org


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