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African Cheetah Outrunning Extinction?

As humans continue to encroach on cheetah habitat, its population continues to decline. There are fewer than 15,000 cheetahs left in the world.

"They're Africa's most endangered cat," said Laurie Marker, executive director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund on The Early Show. "And if you can just imagine that this animal is running for its life, and within our lifetime it could be running out of time."

Marker should know. She has been called the Jane Goodall of cheetahs and heads the largest cheetah organization in the world. She highlighted the importance of people's awareness in this matter.

"The biggest conflict that the cheetah has is that of conflict with wildlife ranchers," Marker explained. Since the cheetah can catch their livestock, ranchers are shooting the cheetah.

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So her organization is raising Anatolian Shepherd in Nambia to protect the cheetah by living with the livestock. The fund is donating the dogs to farmers.

To accomplish this, she needs financial support from people like wildlife artist Lynn Chase. Chase not only paints porcelain but also heads the Chase Wildlife Foundation.

"This year, we're supporting Laurie Marker," Chase said. We gave a benefit last night and we presented her with a $10,000 check that came all from my artwork, actually."

"We really need help. The cheetah needs help and if we don't get help like that we're not going to have cheetahs on Earth," said Marker. "And if you save the cheetah, you save an ecosystem, and we all benefit."

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