ENDANGERED SPECIES (VIDEO) – Rescued cheetah Chewbaaka recently passed away at 16 years old, leaving many grieving friends behind. He and his best friend and rescuer, Dr. Laurie Marker, changed the way people view cheetahs, showing them it’s possible to live peacefully with animals. Read Dr. Marker’s beautiful tribute to the big cat she raised from the time he was 10 days old, and see the pictures that we can all remember this amazing animal by. — Global Animal


Dr. Laurie Marker petting cheetah. Photo Credit: Frans Lanting

Cheetah Conservation Fund, Dr. Laurie Marker

My dear friends,

With the deepest sorrow, I said goodbye to Chewbaaka today. In late February, a rabid kudu leaped into his enclosure. Despite being almost 16 years old, Chewbaaka tried to take down the kudu and suffered bruises that covered his entire abdomen and hind legs. He did not appear to have internal injuries, but I think that given his age, the insult to his body was too much for him to overcome. Despite our best efforts, he did not recover.

Chewbaaka has been my best friend since he was brought to me in 1995, only 10 days old and seriously ill. Even as young and ill as he was, he was such a fighter that he pulled through, and he and I developed a deep bond that lasted his entire lifetime. We trusted each other completely. We were partners.

I’ve said before that the first cheetah I raised, Khayam, showed me the problem facing cheetahs, and Chewbaaka showed me the solutions. As a team, he and I demonstrated to tens of thousands of Namibian children and adults that we could live together peacefully. He made Namibians proud of their natural heritage. He convinced men who had killed cheetahs all their lives to put down their guns and work to protect this fascinating animal. People all over the globe knew him or knew of him.

Even for a cheetah, Chewbaaka had a special bearing, a regalness that people often commented on. It was as if he knew he was the king of CCF. In my heart he will always be king of CCF.

We have been working to develop a planned giving program in Chewbaaka’s honour, and I will provide more information about that in the next few months. But for now I wanted you to know the sad news of the passing of this legendary animal, my dear companion Chewbaaka.

Thank you to everyone for your concern and support during this sorrowful time.


Photo Credit: Cheetah Conservation Fund