Bridgette Frazier Raises Earthly Awareness, Brings In the Cheetahs

Around the world animals of all kinds are facing extinction. Whether they are threatened by environmental forces or people, the danger is still the same.

It is the goal of preservation societies and zoos to help protect these animals and to raise awareness about their endangerment. The Little Rock Zoo is no exception. This spring they have taken on the responsibility as protectorate of an endangered species: the beautiful, exotic and lightning-fast cheetah.

“I believe in the mission of the zoo, and I believe in the benefits that it provides to the community at large,” said attorney Bridgette Frazier. “Anything that takes time away from my family must be something that gladdens my spirit, and for me that’s the Little Rock Zoo.” She is a member of the zoo’s Board of Governors and is dedicated to educating visitors about endangered species and conservation.

“The Little Rock Zoo is opening a new cheetah exhibit this spring,” said Susan Altrui, director of marketing and development at the zoo. “We will feature educational information about the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), a nonprofit in Namibia, Africa, dedicated to ensuring the long-term survival of the wild cheetah.”

Wild African cheetahs are in danger for several reasons, but one of the main causes is that African farmers have been shooting them to protect their livestock. “CCF began working with farmers to train Anatolian Shepherd dogs to guard the farms and ward off the cheetahs,” said Altrui. “That has meant that farmers no longer shoot cheetahs to protect their livestock. It’s a win-win for both the cheetah and the farmer and is a perfect example of how creative thinking can help save an endangered species.”

The new cheetah exhibit is sponsored by the Laura P. Nichols Foundation, which donated funds to open the Laura P. Nichols Penguin Pointe last spring. “The cheetah exhibit will be one of the most exciting exhibits at the Little Rock Zoo,” said Frazier. “My hope is that when people see the cheetahs, or really any animal at the zoo, some sort of emotional connection will be created. I hope people gain a sense of duty and responsibility to become good stewards of the earth and become involved and engaged with world problems, such as deforestation.”

Frazier and her family have been fans of the zoo for a long time, especially after they became members. “When we got our membership, it helped me to see what an absolutely incredible treasure our zoo is,” Frazier explained. “I mean, we have lions! Lions normally live halfway around the world, and I get to just sit and observe them right in front of me. Watch a lion’s gait, the way he stretches and yawns and licks his paw. The luster of his coat and the size of his teeth, and my children get the privilege of seeing a lion, not on TV but right in front of us.”

To coincide with the grand opening of the cheetah exhibit, the zoo will host the Cheetah Chase 5K and 1K Family Fun Run at 8 a.m. Saturday, June 2. This event will become an annual fundraiser in support of the cheetah exhibit and zoo at large. For information about the race, visit or call 661-7208.

“We all have a duty to give something back and to leave this world a better place than we found it,” Frazier said. “I think when zoos are done right, they become tools of conservation, outreach and learning, as opposed to animals maintained for our gratuitous amusement.”

Cheetah Exhibit Grand Opening
When: 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 2
Where: Laura P. Nichols Cheetah Outpost, Little Rock Zoo
Admission: $10 per adult, $8 per child


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