For most of the past 20 years, cheetahs and cheetah conservation have been at the forefront of the education and fundraising programs at Wild Wonders, a wildlife conservation and education center in Bonsall.

On Friday, one of the world’s leading cheetah experts will be visiting the 5-acre ranch to talk about some of the recent successes she and others have made in their fight to save the vulnerable wild cat species. Laurie Marks, executive director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in Namibia, will speak at the dinner fundraiser at 4 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $125 and all proceeds will go to the CCF.

According to the African Wildlife Foundation, there are only about 6,600 adult cheetahs left in the wild and only about 5 percent of their cubs survive to adulthood, due to hunting, loss of habitat and cub-smuggling for the exotic pet trade. But in recent years, the CCF has made some progress in reducing the cheetah death rate.

International CCF Leader To Give Talk At Wild Wonders Ranch In Bonsall
Hasani, a male cheetah photographed in 2021 at Wild Wonders wildlife conservation and education center in Bonsall. (Eduardo Contreras/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Just last month, the CCF and the Namibian government donated eight wild cheetahs to India for its Project Cheetah program. Wild cheetahs haven’t roamed India for more than 70 years. On Sept. 16, three male and five female adult cheetahs from Namibia were delivered to India’s new Kuno National Park wildlife sanctuary in the Madhya Pradesh region, where it’s hoped they will breed a new generation of Indian-born cheetahs.

Wild Wonders was founded in 1991 by wildlife biologist Jackie Navarro, a former educator at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Wild Wonders offers animal education programs at schools, parties and special events featuring its more than 100 animals from all over the world. Most of these creatures came to Wild Wonders as rescues or they were seized by or relinquished to state wildlife officials.

In the early 2000s, Navarro became aware of the plight of cheetahs and added them to the Wild Wonders collection so she could teach local residents about the challenges these cats face. Today, Wild Wonders has three cheetahs: 8-year-old Masika, 4-year-old Hasani, and 1-year-old Tavi.

Wild Wonders is at 5712 Vía Montellano, Bonsall. For tickets, call (760) 630-9230 or visit

These two cheetah cubs, kept in appalling conditions, were confiscated in Somaliland © Cheetah Conservation FundFundraiser for Cheetah Conservation Fund

Join us for a VERY special event on Friday, October 28, for a fundraiser for the Cheetah Conservation Fund and a special presentation by its Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Laurie Marker.

Based in Namibia, the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is a renowned leader in the conservation of this magnificent animal.  CCF’s approach to conservation encompasses multiple activities:

Reintroduction of cheetahs into India 50 years after they were last seen there

Working on an international level with countries like Somaliland to establish a new cheetah conservation and rehabilitation center for cheetahs rescued from the illegal pet trade

Providing guard dogs to farmers to keep cheetahs away from their livestock, thus lessening the tension between farmers and cheetahs

Continuing education programs for local children about why conservation is important

Dr. Laurie Marker will discuss the work CCF is doing in Namibia and Somaliland, and the reintroduction of cheetahs in the Kuno National Park in India.  This promises to be a very exciting evening and an incredible opportunity to hear from one of the world’s leading conservationists.

Attendees also have the opportunity to explore the 5-acres of Wild Wonders and meet some of the 100+ animal ambassadors that call Wild Wonders their forever home.

A barbecue buffet will be available, along with gifts to purchase from CCF.

Tickets are $125/person.  A small number of VIP tickets are available at $250/person.  VIP tickets include a meeting with Dr. Marker, a cheetah presentation, and a separate dining area.

The start time of the event is 4:00 for general admission and 3:30 for VIPs.

You can learn more about CCF by clicking on their logo nearby.


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