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Steve Flaherty, Our President

Photo of Steve Flaherty with a cheetah

Like most kids of his generation, Steve grew up watching Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom and the National Geographic specials on TV. He was captivated by the images of wild places around the world, and by the beautiful and exotic creatures that inhabited them. He most eagerly looked forward to episodes featuring the wild cats, especially cheetahs. Although he chose computer science as his major in college, he remained interested in animals and conservation.

In April 2000, he saw an ad in the San Jose newspaper for a fund-raising event for the Cheetah Conservation Fund that would feature the appearance of two live ambassador cheetahs. Steve attended this event, and got a front-row seat. He fell in love with the two cheetahs instantly, and decided that he needed to start doing something to help in the efforts to save their species from going extinct. He spent the next few months attending further events, and was invited to come help at a construction and maintenance "work party weekend" at the Leopards, Etc. compound in October. He started regularly going to the compound, helping to build and maintain enclosures, as well as setting up and maintaining Leopards Etc.'s computers.

Over the next few years, Steve became more and more involved with conservation efforts. He served as the chapter co-leader for the Northern California chapter of the Cheetah Conservation Fund in 2003 and is involved with fund-raising efforts for the Snow Leopard Conservancy, Small Cat Conservation Alliance, Wildlife Conservation Network, Elephants of Africa Rescue Society and several other wildlife conservation organizations.

In August of 2008, Steve was asked to join the WCECF Board of Directors as its President.