Monday, 31 July 2017 00:00

Emmy Award winning co-anchor of FOX News Tampa Bay, Cynthia Smoot will join Jon & Talkin' Pets 8/5/17 at 5pm EST to discuss the Cheetah Conservation Fund & the House Appropriations Committee amendment to eliminate restrictions on killing wild horses Featured

Written by 
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Cynthia Smoot is the Emmy award-winning co-anchor of the FOX 13 11 O'clock News

When she's not at the anchor desk, Cynthia's likely covering a story about Florida's fabulous wildlife or people and their pets. She loves nature and enjoys helping Tampa Bay viewers get to know some of the interesting creatures in our own backyard, such as "Winter," the little dolphin at Clearwater Marine Aquarium that lost her tail but now swims with the help of a prosthesis.

She has also reported on some of the area's most notorious animal cruelty cases, following the story of "Casper," a boxer that was nearly starved to death, from the day he arrived at the county shelter to the day he went home with his new adoptive owner.

Cynthia has also traveled to the Everglades to report on the threat of Burmese pythons to our native wildlife, and to Boca Grande, where invasive spiny-tailed iguanas are pushing out threatened gopher tortoises and eating native birds.

In 1998, Cynthia received a prestigious Emmy award for "A Real Life Horse Whisperer," the story of Monty Roberts, who helped revolutionize horse training with his non-violent methods.

Cynthia grew up in Yorktown, Virginia and received her B.A. in communications from James Madison University. She's a 30-year veteran of broadcast journalism, with a career that began in radio as an award-winning morning news anchor and news director, and for the past 28 years, in television as a producer, reporter, and anchor.

Before coming to WTVT in 1997, Cynthia spent 13 years at the FOX owned and operated TV station in Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point, North Carolina as the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. news anchor. In North Carolina, she was deeply involved in children's issues and received a number of community awards and honor for her involvement and advocacy on issues relating to foster care and adoption, infant mortality, teenage pregnancy and working women.

Cynthia was also involved with the North Carolina chapter of "Operation Smile," twice
traveling abroad with medical teams to report on the life-changing surgery they perform on children with facial and limb deformities.

Cynthia lives in Tierra Verde with her husband Bill, greyhound Karma, and Bo the cat. Cynthia’s horse, Bucky, prefers the country life in Manatee County.

If you would like to contact Cynthia, you can email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also connect with her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @CynthiaSmoot.

 

Cheetah Conservation Fund is the world’s leading organization dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild. Founded by Dr. Laurie Marker in 1990, CCF has created a set of integrated programs aimed at addressing the principle threats to the cheetah.

 

CCF’s conservation programming is rooted in scientific research. CCF maintains a research program on the biology, ecology and genetics of cheetahs that publishes papers in peer-reviewed journals annually, and currently operates the only fully-equipped genetics lab at an in-situ conservation facility in Africa.

 

Using this research as an underpinning, CCF has created a set of integrated programs that together address the threats both to the cheetah and its entire ecosystem, including human populations. CCF operates from the principal that only by securing the future of the communities that live alongside the cheetah can you secure a future for the cheetah. Helping people helps cheetahs.

 

Learn about the cheetah and what we do to help it win the race against extinction:

 

Welcome.

 

If you’re here, it’s a pretty good bet that, like me, you think the cheetah is special. It’s the world’s fastest land animal, and the oldest species of big cat. It’s also Africa’s most endangered big cat. We’ve lost over 90 percent of the world’s wild population in the past 100 years. And if we don’t act now, we might lose the cheetah forever.

 

I invite you to join us

 

Be part of our work here in Namibia and around the world. Donate. Visit. Volunteer. While we love hosting interns, working guests and visitors at our International Research and Education Center in Namibia, Africa, the truth is that you can help the cheetah right now, right where you are.

 

What will it take to save the cheetah?

 

Saving the cheetah means addressing its entire ecosystem, including the people who live in the cheetah’s range. Ninety percent of cheetahs in the wild live outside protected areas, alongside human communities. Securing a future for the cheetah means securing the future of the people who live in cheetah country. For nearly 25 years, Cheetah Conservation Fund has been doing just that – through our celebrated Livestock Guarding Dog program, and our award-winning habitat restoration project, Bushblok. We’re based in Namibia, where the world’s largest population of wild cheetahs lives, and everything we do is aimed at creating a thriving ecosystem so that cheetahs and humans can live together.

 

We need you, starting today.

 

Join our mailing list and learn more, be part of our CCF family. The race is on to save the cheetah, and with your help, we can win it.

 

For Cheetahs Everywhere,

 

Founded in Namibia in 1990, Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is the global leader in research and conservation of cheetahs. CCF is dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild.

 

The vast majority of wild cheetahs are outside protected areas, in areas populated by humans. Saving this magnificent animal from extinction requires innovative conservation methods that address the welfare of both cheetah and human populations over large landscapes. CCF has developed a set of integrated programs that work together to achieve this objective. CCF’s programs have effectively stabilized and even increased the wild cheetah population in Namibia.

 

CCF’s mission is to be the internationally recognized center of excellence in the conservation of cheetahs and their ecosystems. CCF will work with all stakeholders to develop best practices in research, education, and land use to benefit all species, including people.

 

CCF is an international non-profit organization headquartered in Namibia, with operations in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and partner organizations in several other nations.

 

Location

 

Cheetah Conservation Fund is located in Otjiwarongo, Namibia, about three hours north of the capital city of Windhoek. CCF’s International Research and Education Centre is a renowned research facility that sets the standard for researchers and students worldwide seeking to learn more about the cheetah. It is a center for conservation programming and education, the base from which CCF reaches thousands of farmers, tens of thousands of students and hundreds of thousands of online supporters worldwide.

 

Even with all of this world-class, innovative conservation work going on, CCF is also an ecotourism destination, providing informative and memorable experiences for travelers whether they visit us for a day, or stay overnight in our guest house accommodations. Ask anyone who’s been here – there is no place on earth like CCF.

 

Research Facilities

 

Through the generosity of Life Technologies, CCF has developed a DNA laboratory that conducts a non-invasive, genetic monitoring program to provide accurate population estimates of cheetahs in Namibia and other home-range countries. The laboratory also researches questions involving cheetah gene flow and geographical patterns of genetic variation, as well as adaptive questions related to the cheetah’s behavioral ecology in specific habitats. The lab plays a key role in training the next generation of wildlife geneticists.

 

Learn more about Research

 

Model Farm and Creamery

 

The CCF Center includes several model farms that have been developed to research and display predator-friendly and commercially viable livestock and wildlife programs. Innovative business initiatives include the Bushblok compressed fuel log, made from invasive thorn bush and the Dancing Goat Creamery which makes goat’s cheese made from CCF’s goats which are protected by its Anatolian Shepherds and Kangal Livestock Guarding Dogs. Educational groups and visiting farmers have the opportunity to see first-hand that farmers and cheetah can co-exist.

 

Education Centre and Cheetah Museum

 

CCF’s education center and Cheetah Museum displays are designed around CCF’s scientific research findings and provide detailed information about the cheetah: its history, physiology, importance within the ecosystem, conflict with humans, and what CCF is doing to ensure the species’ survival for future generations.

 

CCF’s Education Team presents two-day or longer environmental courses for school groups with overnight accommodation provided at the CCF educational campsites. Since 2000, over 15,000 students have participated in these courses at the Center. In addition to school groups, regional youth groups, youth officials, teachers, health officials and farmers participate in specially designed programs at CCF’s Center.findings and provide detailed information about the cheetah: its history, physiology, importance within the ecosystem, conflict with humans, and what CCF is doing to ensure the species’ survival for future generations.

 

The CCF children’s educational playground demonstrates that learning can be fun. Children complete a range of activities designed to demonstrate cheetah physiology and environmental issues.

 

Learn more about Education

 

Resident Cheetahs

 

Since its founding in 1990, CCF has had great success working with farmers who have cheetahs living on their land. This has led to over half of the more than 900 cheetahs CCF has worked with being released back into the wild. But there are always orphaned and injured cheetahs and here at CCF they are given a large, peaceful sanctuary. These cheetahs, not able to make it in the wild due to behavioral or medical problems, are part of ongoing research to better understand cheetah biology, physiology and behavior. Some of CCF’s orphan cheetahs can be viewed at feeding time (14:00 h on week days and 12:00 h on weekends), or can be seen close up on a Cheetah Safari Drive. You can watch cheetahs run like the wind during a ‘Cheetah Run’ or view them in their natural habitat in CCF’s Bellebenno Reserve with excellent photo and viewing opportunities (based on availability). Enjoy a private safari through CCF’s own “Little Serengeti”, a picturesque open plain featuring large herds of hartebeest, oryx, springbok, warthog, and jackals; and don’t miss out on the ‘Cheetah Exclusive’, during which you will enjoy a unique personal encounter with one of CCF’s ambassador cheetahs and spend some time with CCF’s research staff.

 

Sponsor a Resident Cheetah

 

The cheetah is one of the most specialized of the 37 cat species with only one species in its genus, Acinonyx. During the 1980s, CCF and its research collaborators studied many aspects of cheetah biology including genetics, reproductive physiology, and virology. These early studies identified the cheetah’s limited genetic variation that results in reproductive and health problems. CCF’s current research focuses on a number of aspects of the cheetah’s life cycle, ecology, biology and genetics.

 


 

Health and Reproduction

 

CCF’s on-going research on the wild cheetah includes studying the genetics and relatedness of the population, the incidence of disease, stress hormone levels, and the reproductive health of the population. Through weighing and measuring for morphometric studies, analysis of dental structure and reproductive fitness, CCF is learning more about the overall health of the world’s cheetah population.

 


 

The Life Technologies Conservation Genetics Laboratory

 

CCF is home to a world class research facility that is unique in Africa. It includes the Haas Family Veterinary Clinic and the Life Technologies Conservation Genetics Laboratory, which is the only fully-equipped genetics lab in situ at a conservation facility in Africa. From this facility, CCF collaborates with scientists around the globe on research that not only benefits the cheetah and its ecosystem, but other big cats and predators as well. The Haas Family Veterinary Clinic allows us to not only collect samples from cheetahs that we take into our facility, it allows us to provide prompt veterinary care to our cheetahs, dogs, goats and other animals when they have need.

 

Assuring the good health of all our residents is an important part of making conservation work here at CCF. The genetics laboratory was made possible thanks to the generous donation of PCR machines, a Sequence Analyzer, and an initial batch of reagents from Applied Biosystems (now Life Technologies) at the time of the setup and a new laser in 2012. The addition of the state of the art non-invasive laboratory for our international scat samples in 2009 was supported by the Ohrstrom Foundation. We have had the chance to be able to use a great genetic analysis software called “geneious” since 2010, for which licenses were generously donated by the company who created it (Biomatters). Additional donations from private individuals and the surplus department of the National Institutes of Health provided valuable equipment such as a UV work station, centrifuges, pipettemen, electrophoresis systems and a camera system for the visualization of DNA, spectrophotometer, scales, glassware, and other lab ware.

 

We want to thank everybody for their support. One of the major motivating factors in having a laboratory in Namibia is to be able to process samples locally instead of having to send African samples to the US and Europe. This has several advantages including decreasing the dependence of Namibia from other countries and allowing Namibian students to be exposed to genetic research and conservation at CCF, at the same time avoiding the complications of sample export. Since 2009 we have trained 1-2 Namibian graduates a year in the laboratory. CCF is committed to working with students, both in Namibia and abroad, and training the next generation of environmental and genetic scientists.

 


 

Scat Detection Dogs

 

Trained scat-sniffing dogs help CCF ecologists find cheetah scat in the field. DNA is then extracted in its laboratory to identify individual cheetahs and understand cheetah population structure.

 


 

Genome Resource Bank

 

CCF has developed best-practice techniques for storing sperm, tissues and blood samples in its Genome Resource Bank (GRB), to provide ‘insurance’ for the cheetah’s survival. As a result, CCF maintains one of the largest GRB’s for an endangered species. Cryopreservation methods continue to be studied and refined in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, USA.

 


 

Behavior Demographics, Home Range, and Reintroduction

 

CCF investigates the movement of the cheetah to determine home ranges, habitat preference and seasonal use, territoriality, and behaviors unique to individual cheetah populations that may be critical for their survival. CCF develops and implements relocation, reintroduction, and non-invasive monitoring methodologies to ensure a viable wild population, and gathers data on the status of wild cheetahs.

 


 

Cheetah Census Research

 

Cheetahs are very difficult to count using conventional census techniques due to their secretive nature. CCF has tested various census and monitoring techniques, including radio-telemetry, spoor track counts and camera traps, and calibrating these to existing known density estimates in its research study area.

 


 

Ecological Research

 

CCF identifies vegetation and monitors growth patterns within CCF study areas, identifying target areas for ecological management, and investigating how bush encroachment affects biodiversity. CCF also conducts prey base studies that monitor habitat use by game species. CCF collates historical data regarding predation, develops methodologies for the reintroduction of prey species, and encourages standardized prey studies in other cheetah-range countries.

 


 

Investigating Human and Wildlife Conflict

 

CCF collaborates with farmers to better understand traditional farm management techniques and perceptions. CCF evaluates various non-lethal livestock management and predator control techniques that can reduce the indiscriminate removal of cheetah. The CCF research program includes CCF as a Model Farm and non-lethal predator control such as livestock guarding dogs.

 


 

Long-term Research and Education Partners:

 

 

 

View our research library

 

Environmental education plays a key role in Cheetah Conservation Fund’s (CCF) mission. CCF believes that public education and the development of national pride and international concern for the cheetah are critical to its survival, and therefore educates farmers, teachers, and the public about methods to conserve biodiversity and about the role of the cheetah and other predators in healthy ecosystems. CCF’s Education program includes:

 

Cheetah Fact Sheet Educational Resources

 


 

CCF’s International Research Conservation
And Education Center

 

In central Namibia, CCF operates a Field Research and Education Center to conduct formal and informal education programs. The Center is open to the public daily and offers educational activities, programs for visiting school groups, and training for Namibian and foreign university students.

 

CCF’s education center and Cheetah Museum displays are designed around CCF’s scientific research findings and provide detailed information about the cheetah: its history, physiology, importance within the ecosystem, conflict with humans, and what CCF is doing to ensure the species’ survival for future generations.

 

CCF’s Education Team presents two-day or longer environmental courses for school groups with overnight accommodation provided at the CCF educational campsites. Since 2000, over 15,000 students have participated in these courses at the Center. In addition to school groups, regional youth groups, youth officials, teachers, health officials and farmers participate in specially designed programs at CCF’s Center.

 


 

School Outreach Programs

 

Along with educational activities conducted at the Center, CCF’s Education Team presents outreach programs at schools and community events throughout Namibia. Since 1994, over 300,000 students have participated in a CCF outreach program.
 
Educational Resources

 


 

Farmer Training And Community Outreach

 

As 90 percent of Namibia’s wild cheetahs live on farmlands and come into conflict with farmers, livestock and game farming interests, CCF conducts a specific environmental education program for the farming community. CCF makes presentations at individual farms, farmers’ association meetings and agricultural shows, highlighting proven cheetah behavioral characteristics and predator-friendly livestock management techniques.

 

CCF’s Education Team conducts week-long training courses for communal conservancies, emerging and re-settled farmers, and extension officers. CCF’s courses are aimed at improving understanding of farming production principles and systems as well as providing hands-on training. Topics include cattle husbandry, herd and veld management, disease and vaccination programs, business principles and inventorying conservancy resources. Other topics include basic conservation training on sustainable wildlife utilization and the role and value of predators, predator kill identification and other ‘predator-friendly’ farming practices. Over 3,000 participants have undergone training at CCF’s Center. Several training courses are conducted each year.

 


 

International Training Courses

 

Cheetah conservation is interconnected to social, economic, and environmental factors which are of national concern. The next generation of African conservation managers must be equipped with the best training available. CCF has hosted several education and conservation biology courses for wildlife professionals. Collaborative partners include the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution and the Namibian Ministry of Higher Education. Over 300 Namibian and international course participants have completed courses on natural resource management, environmental education, conservation biology, game capture, and integrated wildlife, livestock and predator management.

 

CCF has close links and assists in training and sharing program successes with other countries where cheetah live, including Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Iran, Algeria and more recently, Angola. In many of these countries, efforts are currently underway to develop new conservation programs or support existing cheetah conservation efforts. CCF’s international collaborations involve distributing CCF materials, lending resources and support, and providing training through Africa and the rest of the world.

 

Additionally, CCF has been working in an advisory capacity with the Wildlife Trust of India and India’s authorities to discuss the best strategies for re-introducing cheetahs in India.

 

Countries in which CCF maintains ongoing collaborations:

 

Kenya

 

The Kenya cheetah population has declined over the past decade. The Kenya Wildlife Service has asked CCF to determine population distribution in the country as well as to identify population needs. CCF established a Kenyan satellite centre and employed two staff to begin research, conservation, and education programs. In addition, CCF is assisting with a project in the Masai Mara to study the impact of tourism on cheetahs and has worked with the industry to distribute awareness materials. In cooperation with Friends of Conservation, Kenya Wildlife Service, and Kenya Wildlife Clubs, CCF has provided student and teacher resource materials for their use in schools throughout Kenya.

 


 

Tanzania

 

In 2013, Tanzania became the fourth country to which CCF has sent its celebrated livestock guarding dogs to help with human-wildlife conflict. The dogs were sent to the Ruaha Carnivore Project (RCP) run by Dr. Amy Dickman. RCP is part of Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), with whom CCF Founder and Executive Director Dr. Marker conducted her doctoral research. Goats from neighboring farms have been brought to a specially prepared kraal in the RCP research area to begin training the puppies. This represents the first known attempt to bring in specialized guarding dogs to help Tanzanian pastoralists protect their livestock.

 


 

Botswana

 

Botswana’s cheetah population may be the second largest free-ranging population, and a large percentage is found outside of protected areas. Botswana has used CCF as a model in the development of their programs. CCF has trained the Botswana Cheetah team in handling cheetahs, and developing survey and educational materials that will be utilized with the local farming community.

 


 

South Africa

 

CCF’s sister organization, Cheetah Outreach uses hand-raised, captive-born cheetahs as educational ambassadors at local schools, and to introduce the public to the problems facing the cheetah. Cheetah Outreach has adopted CCF’s Namibian education model, and has developed and implemented a school curriculum with the Western Cape Education Department. CCF works closely with the National Cheetah Monitoring Program and the DeWildt Cheetah Research Center.

 


 

Iran

 

The Iranian Cheetah Conservation project is supported by a United Nations Development Program (UNDP) grant entitled “Conservation of the Asiatic Cheetah, Its Natural Habitat and Associated Biota”. CCF maintains in close contact (weekly or more) with the Iranian groups involved in this project to provide support and guidance in their conservation efforts to save this last remaining population of Asian cheetahs. CCF has been to Iran twice to assist on the project and have been given a permit to work in Iran thus allowing a closer collaboration with this group.

 


 

North and West Africa

 

CCF’s Director is an active member of a newly developing North and West Africa project to identify the needs to save the Sahel cheetah. Currently, working in cooperation with a French Zoological Park, the Paris Museum of Natural History, and the Cat Specialist Group a formal group was developed. In addition, in 2005 CCF joined a collaborative survey team into Algeria to begin laying ground work for conservation efforts in this country. CCF trained one of the Algerian team members in Namibia in 2004.

 

Read 43 times Last modified on Monday, 31 July 2017 20:36
Super User

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.