Call of the Wild Dinner Brings Awareness of the Cheetah Population

The Nashville Zoo’s Call of the Wild Dinner debuted only four years ago, and it quickly became one of the must-attend events for the nonprofit’s most generous supporters. It was a perfect spring evening, when more than 130 guests showed up to enjoy cocktails and dinner and to hear from this year’s featured speaker, Dr. Laurie Marker, who founded the Cheetah Conservation Fund in 1990 and has worked with the magnificent species since the 1970s.

No event at the zoo would be complete without appearances by some of the beloved animal ambassadors. Perennial favorite Fern the sloth was hanging around to greet admirers, and Ali the flamingo flashed her fiery feathers. New to the program were three adorable baby goats, and guests oohed and aahed over Lady Gray, Miss Moo and Mister Mustache, who basked in all of the attention.

After dinner, the focus shifted to another breed of animal: the cheetah. Laurie shared the work of CCF, which is the world’s leading organization dedicated to saving cheetahs in the wild by creating opportunities for coexistence with humans. She explained how its Namibia-based researchers, educators and conservationists use a holistic approach when working with communities that live alongside the cheetah. Their goal is to diminish the three major threats causing endangerment of the species: human-wildlife conflict, habitat loss and illegal wildlife/pet trade. Her work is making a significant impact on preserving the cheetah population and its habitat.

Our Nashville Zoo is also dedicated to saving species from extinction and makes great strides not only locally, with its pioneering efforts, but also globally by contributing to other environmental protection programs, including the CCF. Funds raised at the Call of the Wild Dinner support those efforts. On this night, guests received a special gift for their generosity. On the way out, they enjoyed a sneak peek of Night Visions, the light and sound show that runs through July 17 this summer.