Learn How to Save Cheetahs in the Race Against Extinction

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo will host conservation expert Brian Badger, from the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), on Saturday, May 6th, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Zoo’s Research Station. The Cheetah Conservation Fund, the world’s leading organization dedicated to saving cheetahs in the wild, has developed programs that address threats to the cheetah and its entire ecosystem, including human populations. Cheetahs once ranged across the entire African continent. 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 50 individuals.        

Brian Badger has spent three decades in the conservation world, educating people on the mission and goals of sustainable conservation. A passionate speaker who enlivens the audience with elements of fun and humor, and an experienced lecturer to crowds at schools, zoos, and on television, he has been a carnivore keeper for twenty cat species, as well as wolves. He has worked on conservation projects for lions in Uganda, Amur leopards in Russia, tigers in Bangladesh, and snow leopards in Nepal.

“As with other species facing extinction, cheetah endangerment can be linked to habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, and illegal wildlife trade,” said Badger. “Ninety percent of Namibia’s wild cheetahs live on farmland, and come into conflict with farmers, so education has been key to conservation efforts.”

The cheetah population has also been decimated by capture as pets. The pharaohs of Ancient Egypt, Italian nobles, Russian princes, and Indian royalty used cheetahs for hunting and as a status symbol for wealth. Their capture in the wild wreaked havoc on the wild cheetah population, and is likely the leading reason they are extinct throughout the majority of Asia.

“Part of our mission as Connecticut’s only zoo is to serve as a center for education and as a leader in wildlife conservation efforts,” said Zoo Director Gregg Dancho. “We’re pleased to host Brian Badger and encourage our community to come learn more about cheetah conservation worldwide.”

 This event is sponsored by Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo’s Volunteer Council. The Volunteer Council sponsors several Zoo events, most notably the Evening Lecture Series.