As a young woman, Dr. Marker worked at a park called Safari West and became fascinated with cheetahs. In fact, she slept with a cheetah named Khayam curled next to her bed. Later, on research trips to Namibia, Dr. Marker learned about the shrinking population of wild cheetahs and discovered how limited genetic diversity, along with clashes with local communities, threatened their survival. In 1991, Dr. Marker sold most of her belongings, moved to Namibia, and cofounded the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF).
A memorable moment in the field:
Dr. Marker’s first trip to Namibia was in 1977. She arrived with a captive-born cheetah she hoped to return to the wild. This first-of-its-kind research provided insight into the process of reintroducing captive-born cheetahs into the African landscape.