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How many cheetahs are left in the world?

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Cheetahs are one of the most fascinating animals on Earth. After all, did you know they are the fastest land mammals on Earth? that's right. They run between 50 and 80 mph. In addition to being the fastest land mammal, the cheetah is also the most threatened of all cats. So what are the big problems facing these fast cats, and what are the solutions? How many cheetahs are left in the world? In this article, we take a closer look at the plight of cheetahs and how their populations have been affected over the years.

How many cheetahs are left in the world?

How many cheetahs are left in the world 1
Cheetahs are classified as "vulnerable" according to the IUCN Red List.


As the fastest land animal, the cheetah is probably the most famous of the big cats. The speed and acceleration of cheetahs make them great predators. Because of how fast they are, they are able to hunt prey such as gazelles. However, despite being such great hunters, cheetah populations have been in severe decline.

According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the estimated number of African cheetahs in the wild today ranges from 6,517 to 7,000 individuals, while the number of Asiatic cheetahs is estimated at fewer than 50 individuals. Cheetahs are currently classified as "vulnerable." Populations have declined by about 50% over the past four decades, and the species' historical range has shrunk significantly.

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Cheetah populations are even lower than IUCN estimates, according to a study titled "Distribution and Populations of Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) in Southern Africa." As a result of their research, they identified 3,577 free-ranging cheetahs and recommended that the IUCN consider the species listed as endangered.

While cheetahs have faced and overcome the threat of extinction in the past, they are now facing extinction again. There have been at least two instances in recent history of cheetah populations facing extinction. What caused the cheetah population to decline so rapidly? Let's take a look at the factors that negatively impact cheetah populations.

What is causing the decline in cheetah populations?

Little Cheetah Sand
Cheetahs are under threat from human hunting and habitat destruction.

©Stu Porter/Shutterstock.com

Cheetahs are increasingly threatened with extinction due to climate change, human hunting and habitat destruction. Let's look at each of these factors in more detail.

human hunting

The conflict between cheetahs and farmers has a long history. Most cheetahs live on land owned by farmers or ranchers. In the minds of farmers, cheetahs pose the greatest threat to livestock, which is why they kill them. Cheetahs do little harm to livestock, but farmers often kill animals either as a precautionary measure or as revenge.

Cheetahs are also hunted by hunters as sporting trophies. Cheetah populations are threatened by poaching because some people want the cheetah's coat or fur. Cheetahs are also known for being one of the easier exotic pets to tame. As a result, they are often hunted, captured, and smuggled out of the country because they are kept as pets.

habitat destruction

Almost all of Africa, with the exception of the Congo Basin, eastern India and the Arabian Peninsula, was once covered by cheetahs. The grassland habitat that many cheetahs rely on is being destroyed by roads, farms and settlements due to population growth. Cheetahs live in very small numbers in the wild. This means they need large areas of connected habitat to ensure they can survive, as there are very few of them in the wild. Currently, about 76 percent of the known cheetah range is on unprotected land. The result of this situation is a widespread dispersal of the population, which poses a threat to the future of the species.

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climate change

Due to the rapid change in the environment, climate change poses a major threat to both wildlife and humans, as we all depend on the earth's land. Cheetahs are particularly vulnerable to rapid ecological and environmental change, in part because they do not have a diverse genetic makeup and because they are dedicated hunters. Therefore, they need a wide field of vision and open landscapes to catch their prey. With many species unable to live in the country, cheetahs will become increasingly difficult to hunt.

Why is it important to keep cheetah populations thriving?

The safari animal you must see: the cheetah
To maintain the biodiversity of its ecosystem, cheetahs help control the number of prey in their area.

© Maros Bauer/Shutterstock.com

There is no doubt that cheetahs play an extremely important role in ecosystems, even though we may not realize it. This is because they are classified as predators. Cheetahs live primarily in grasslands and maintain healthy populations of the animals they hunt. Given the opportunity, cheetahs are most likely to hunt sluggish and weak wildlife. Without the cheetahs, there would be a domino effect. This effect is known as the trophic cascade. If cheetahs go extinct, there will be too many herbivores. This will lead to plant extinction, soil erosion and reduction of available water resources.

Is there an effort to save cheetahs from extinction? Here are some protective measures to help these fast-moving felines.

What conservation measures are being taken for cheetahs?

In 1975, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) banned commercial international trade in wild cheetahs. In addition, the Wide Range Conservation Program (RWCP) for cheetahs and African wild dogs is currently underway in nearly all states across Africa. Basically, these plans set the guidelines for a national conservation action plan. Cheetah conservation and research is also part of many projects in southern and eastern Africa. They provide vital in situ conservation services to cheetahs, some of which support state wildlife authorities in their conservation efforts.

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It is also worth mentioning that the Asiatic cheetah is also fully protected in Iran. As part of the Asian Cheetah Conservation Project (CACP), the Iranian government works with CCF, IUCN, Panthera Corporation, UNDP and Wildlife Conservation Society to protect the Asian cheetah's habitat.


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Volia Nikaci is a freelance writer and content editor with a passion and expertise in content creation, branding and marketing. She has a background in broadcast journalism and political science from CUNY Brooklyn College. When not writing, she enjoys traveling, visiting used bookstores, and hanging out with her significant other.

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