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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Land of Professionals

As I prepare for another exciting and challenging week at CCF-Namibia, I can't help but to reflect on the  professional staff, the student interns and the volunteers who seem to constantly pass through the gates at CCF.  My brief experience thus far has provided me with the opportunity to meet and engage many people, both CCF staff and current and future conservationist.  In just six short weeks the turn stile at the main gate has been swinging.  Two cheetah keepers have departed and now our cheetah tracker is about to transfer off to other challenges within the wild game industry.  Replacements have begun to arrive with additional ones to follow.  The various departments here all contribute toward the cheetah's survival.  The people who work with the cheetahs, the guard dogs and the goats, the tourism staff, the farm hands and the many staff members who contribute to the daily operation are all professional in what they do.  Each of their contributions play an important part in maintaining and promoting the mission at CCF.
When your stay here is an extended one you meet so many different personalities and folks from all over the world.  I have had the pleasure of working with dedicated professionals since arriving.  I have observed their activities and their work ethic.  For most this is a very serious job in a field for which they have chosen.  Caring for, learning about and teaching and educating others how man can take an active role in a unique part of conservation and preservation is experienced here every day.  The cheetah has survived until now and in fact, it's decline in numbers has been arrested over the last decade.  This is a milestone, but only the first with many new milestones lying ahead for Dr Laurie Marker and her team of professionals.  Every facet of this worldwide non-profit organization contributes to CCF's mission and the survival of the cheetah.  Beyond the staff many others visit here to be part of an arena that cares about the future of this world, it's wildlife and specifically, the cheetah.
It is such an enriching experience to see the number of interns and volunteers who are happy upon arrival and enlightened fully beyond expectation when they depart.  One can't help but to be amazed and thankful that so many others care about conservation, preservation, protecting the environment and saving endangered species.  CCF continues to be blessed with participants that believe the work here is vitally important and are here to make a significant difference.
Being here is rewarding for we see progress in the cheetah's survival.  But, we also see an energetic drive, a contagious enthusiasm, and a sustained dedication among staff and the short-term students and volunteers.  Much of this is also observed in the faces of the thousands of tourist and visitors each year to CCF.  They gain an understanding and an appreciation for the work that is done here and especially for the effort man puts forth every day to enhance the chances of the cheetah's survival.
I am glad I chose to return to CCF and have thus far had the opportunity to make a difference.  If you haven't yet, I invite you to visit  You'll feel good after you have.

Until next,
from Cheetah land,
Ron Marks

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