12/31/2013 11:47 am ET Updated Mar 02, 2014

Old Friends and New Friends

Science Photo Library - MARK GARLICK via Getty Images

Allow me to introduce you to my friend the cheetah: It's the world's fastest land animal, and we've lost over 90 percent of the world's wild population in the last 100 years. The cheetah and I are old friends. Over the almost 40 years since I first encountered a cheetah, learning about the cheetah, its challenges as a species, and its role in the ecosystem, has shown me a life of endless learning and given me a sense of purpose. I have done all that I can to help the cheetah win its race against extinction. It's what one does for a friend who has meant so much to you.

I am constantly making new "cheetah friends" around the globe -- people who understand that saving the cheetah means addressing its entire ecosystem, including the people who live in the cheetah's range. I treasure these new friends, because together, we are creating a network of people, and together, we can win the race to save the cheetah from extinction.

When the New Year rolls around, we start singing "Auld Lang Syne" and remembering old friends and celebrating with our new friends. As 2013 draws to a close, I am proud to introduce an effort from one of our newest cheetah friends, the actress and wildlife activist Gillian Anderson. She's worked with friends in London to create this message to promote awareness about the plight of the cheetah, and CCF's efforts to save it.

We'd like to thank Gillian and her team, as well as Peter Penny, Maddi Bonura and JP Lewis for helping us at CCF to create this extraordinary video. Our hope is that people will share the message and help us make more friends so that we may save the cheetah.

Happy New Year, from me and everyone else at Cheetah Conservation Fund!