Smithsonian Global

Harnessing Reproductive Science to Save Cheetahs

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Microscope scan of female cheetah embryo

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Smithsonian scientist Adrienne Crosier created a first-of-its-kind cheetah biobank of genetic material in Namibia. Working with local Namibian students and the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), led by Smithsonian Research Fellow Laurie Marker, Adrienne and our international partners are able to increase genetic diversity of the cheetah population.

The largest cheetah populations live in southwestern Africa, where CCF is working to protect this endangered species. Adrienne works with CCF from her lab at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Virginia, to study how cheetahs reproduce. Her team at SCBI is also creating new technologies to improve reproduction in cheetahs in human care.

Since 2002, Adrienne has worked with CCF to train local Namibians how to collect biological samples from cheetahs and store them in a biobank repository where they are frozen for future use. There are now hundreds of samples of cheetah genetic material banked in Namibia. This genetic material can support the survival of wild cheetahs by reintroducing genetic diversity to the cheetah population.

People

Adrienne Crosier  

Adrienne Crosier is a cheetah biologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Virginia. She is responsible for the cheetah breeding program at SCBI and collaborates with zoos and conservation institutions around the world to support cheetah conservation.

Laurie Marker  

Dr. Laurie Marker is a research scientist and conservation biologist recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on cheetahs. As Founder and Executive Director of Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), Dr. Marker has pioneered research, established conservation models and created cooperative alliances on behalf of the cheetah that never before existed.