Sunday, April 7, 2013

ONCEkids Unsung Heroes (Part Two of Five)

Our list continues with two more women who have dedicated their lives to helping others. These women have shown their passion for helping others by speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves

Laurie Marker has been living in Namibia for the last 33 years fighting to save Africa's most endangered big cat- the cheetah. The prickly thornbush that covers the plains of Namibia has been injuring the cheetahs when they run through it up to speeds of 70 mph, which has been interfering with their ability to wild game. Unable to hunt in the wild, the cheetahs have been forced to resort to farmer's livestock- resulting in many of them being cornered and trapped by farmers. 

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Marker took it upon herself to solve this problem by sending wood chippers in to chop up all the brush. Since she took this initiative, cheetahs have been returning to the cleared areas and successfully hunting. Her love for the big cats began in the 1970s, when she worked at a wildlife refuge in Oregon. There, she raised both a tiger and a cheetah from the time they were born. She continued her mission by opening up the Cheetah Conservation Fund before heading to Namibia. 

The next inspiring woman on our list also has a passion for saving animals, but instead of cheetahs, she focuses her attention on a different kind of animal-horses

Erin Hurley has been riding horses since she was a little girl, riding in competitions beginning at the age of nine. As she grew into adulthood, she shifted her attention from competing with horses to rescuing them. After finding out the fate of many horses who retire from racing, she was determined to give a better life to them. As you can imagine, this was a very expensive goal- seeing as horses are not cheap by any means. 

For the first few years after establishing South Jersey Thoroughbred Rescue & Adoption, Hurley often had to pay out of pocket to feed and care for the horses. Flash forward to today, she can afford to keep and care for up to 15 horses at a time- thanks to some help from a Philadelphia racetrack. In just six short years, Hurley has save hundreds of horses from a life of misery, and many times even the slaughterhouse. 

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