News Release

September 30, 2011


Contact : Sondra Katzen
Chicago Zoological Society

Note: Images may be downloaded at

African Big Cats the Topic of Chicago Zoological Society’s Fall Lecture Series

      Brookfield, Ill.—Join celebrated conservationists as they share the beauty and mysteries of cheetahs and lions and some of the challenges facing these incredible African big cats at the Chicago Zoological Society’s Fall Lecture Series.

The oldest and most unique of Africa’s big cats, cheetahs are the fastest land mammal, reaching speeds of up to 70 mph. But the species is in trouble and faces extinction: the wild population is thought to be less than 10,000 individuals. Based in Namibia and host to the largest population of wild cheetahs, the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) has worked for the last 20 years to save this species. On Monday, October 17, Dr. Laurie Marker, the world’s leading expert on cheetahs and executive director and founder of CCF, will discuss the species’ future and the special programs that support CCF, such as nonlethal farming methods. Additionally, Marker will speak about CCF’s award-winning Bushblock and Livestock Guarding Dog program to help save wild cheetahs from extinction.

On Wednesday, November 16, Dr. Craig Packer, the world’s foremost expert on lions, will enlighten guests as he shares how the world can maintain stable populations of lions in the face of two related threats: increasing human encroachment and disease. Packer began his research as an undergraduate field assistant to Jane Goodall in Tanzania, where he developed an obsession for Africa. Packer has directed the study of lions in the Serengeti for 30 years. He will discuss how people are becoming more and more numerous in Africa’s rural communities of Tanzania and Mozambique, making them easy prey for lion attacks. In recent years, there has been less and less for lions to eat, forcing them to add people to their diet.

The lectures, held in Brookfield Zoo’s Discovery Center, begin at 7:30 p.m. The cost for each lecture, which includes a wine and cheese reception, is $16. For reservations and further information, go to or call (708) 688-8971.

The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, is to inspire conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. Open every day of the year, Brookfield Zoo is located off First Avenue between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and is also accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA, and PACE bus service.
# # #