Chasing Cheetahs: The Race to Save Africa's Fastest Cat

Chasing Cheetahs: The Race to Save Africa's Fastest Cat

by Sy Montgomery, Nic Bishop
     
 

     Since the year 1900, cheetah footprints quickly dwindled in African dirt as the species plummeted from more than 100,000 to fewer than 10,000. At the Cheetah Conservation Fund's (CCF) African headquarters in Namibia, Laurie Marker and her team save these stunning, swift, and slender creatures from extinction. Since the organization's start

Overview

     Since the year 1900, cheetah footprints quickly dwindled in African dirt as the species plummeted from more than 100,000 to fewer than 10,000. At the Cheetah Conservation Fund's (CCF) African headquarters in Namibia, Laurie Marker and her team save these stunning, swift, and slender creatures from extinction. Since the organization's start in 1990, they've rescued more than 900 cheetahs, most of whom have been returned to the wild.

     But this arduous challenge continues. For most African livestock farmers, cheetahs are the last thing they want to see on their properties. In the 1980s, as many as 19 cheetahs per farmer died each year. Cheetahs were considered vermin—but, in learning more about this magnificent species, we know this is far from true.

     Today, CCF acts as a liaison between the farmers and the cheetahs, in order to promote cohabitation in an ecosystem that cannot thrive without the existence of the precious and predatory cheetah. On a wild ride through the African wilderness—sometimes sniffing out scents left in the dirt—Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop join CCF in studying the cheetah's ecological, genetic, and behavioral patterns in order to chase down the fastest animal on land and save the species—before it is too late.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
* "Bishop’s stunning cheetah photographs will draw readers into this appealing and balanced picture of a conservationist at work."
Kirkus, starred review

"Striking photographs of the cheetahs, the people and landscape of Namibia, and the conservationists fully capture the dedication of these scientists, and the awesome power of the cheetahs."
—Horn Book Magazine

" Bishop's extreme closeups can't capture the cheetahs' blinding speed, but the cats' movie-star glamour is on prominent display, especially in a few breathtaking extreme closeups."
—Bulletin

"Along with sharp views of the facility’s experts and student volunteers working with cheetahs and taking general wildlife counts, Bishop provides plenty of stunning cheetah photography—both full-body and head shots—to beautifully complement Montgomery’s detailed descriptions of daily routines, research projects, and medical procedures."
—Booklist

* "This is a readable, informative and elegant book on an equally elegant feline."
School Library Journal, starred review

School Library Journal
★ 05/01/2014
Gr 6–8—Cheetahs, the smallest of the big cats, are superbly adapted to their habitat and to running down their prey with blinding bursts of speed. Here Montgomery focuses her scientific attention and literary craft on the work of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) and its efforts to save the cheetah from threatened extinction. Quartered in Namibia, CCF director Laurie Marker and her team analyze scat, measure trees where cheetahs congregate, collect DNA to follow genetic lines, breed cheetahs for ultimate release in the wild, and rescue these animals from captivity when possible. Another major thrust is educating farmers, herders, and future farmers/herders (children) in how to coexist with a large predator that often prefers wild meat to domestic animals. To this concern, CCF breeds large Kangal guard dogs and sells them (at low cost) to herdsmen. Montogomery's lucid prose flows smoothly, and Bishop's elegant color photos bring it all into crystal focus. Interspersed with the narrative are information pages on specific topics, such as "Secrets of DNA" and "Taking the Measure of a Tree." Similar in scope to this team's excellent The Tapir Scientist (2013) and Kakapo Rescue (both Houghton, 2010), this is a readable, informative, and elegant book on an equally elegant feline.—Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-02-05
A trusted pair of wildlife observers introduce Namibian cheetahs and a woman who has taken on the responsibility for saving them. Montgomery and Bishop draw readers into the setting from the very beginning with a map, description and photographs of the Namibian savanna where Laurie Marker founded the Cheetah Conservation Fund 20 years ago. There, in an area that is now part of a large nature conservancy, scientists and students take in rescued cheetah orphans, provide sanctuary, return most to the wild, and demonstrate ways farmers and cheetahs can live in harmony. Dogs and goats are key. The CCF raises and sells Kangal dogs, a breed large enough to guard goats, sheep and cattle from large predators. They raise goats, too, to use in training the dogs and Namibians who want to learn to farm. Like many of the best titles in this series, this focuses on a single scientist and her work, describes how she got there, what she does, the tools she uses and why her work is important. As always, young people are included in the story—here, visiting U.S. high school seniors who participate in a wildlife census. Bishop's stunning cheetah photographs will draw readers into this appealing and balanced picture of a conservationist at work. Another winning combination of elegant design, thoughtful organization and fascinating information. (bibliography, resources, index) (Nonfiction. 10-15)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547815497
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
04/01/2014
Series:
Scientists in the Field Series
Pages:
80
Sales rank:
597,026
Product dimensions:
11.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile:
1000L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Sy Montgomery is an author, naturalist, newspaper columnist, scriptwriter, and radio commentator who writes award-winning books for children as well as adults. She lives in Hancock, New Hampshire. Visit her website at symontgomery.com.
     Sy Montgomery and photographer Nic Bishop won the Sibert Medal in 2011 for their collaborative work on Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot, another Scientist in the Field title.  

Nic Bishop, who holds a doctorate in the biological sciences, is the photographer of many acclaimed books for children. He lives in Auckland, New Zealand.Visit his website at: www.nicbishop.com
 
Nic Bishop and author Sy Montgomery won the Sibert Medal in 2011 for their collaborative work on Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot, another Scientist in the Field title.  

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Hancock, New Hampshire
Date of Birth:
February 7, 1958
Place of Birth:
Frankfurt, Germany
Education:
Syracuse University: B.A., Newhouse School of Public Communications, 1979; B.A., College of Arts and Sciences, 1979

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