Monday, September 28, 2009

Why are cheetahs endangered?


Cheetahs are super fast land animals, in fact they are even faster than some supercars, and can accelerate from 0 to 110 km/h (68 mph) in three seconds, reaching speeds between 112 and 120 km/h (70 and 75 mph). Cheetahs may be fast but still not fast enough to avoid the tremendous decline in population that is lately threatening their survival.

Cheetahs are included on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list of vulnerable species (African subspecies threatened, Asiatic subspecies in critical situation) as well as on the US Endangered Species Act: threatened species. Today there are just 12,400 cheetahs remaining in the wild, and the biggest population is currently located in Namibia with about 2,500 individuals. Asiatic subspecies is critically endangered counting only fifty to sixty individuals that still have their habitats in Iran.

There are many reasons why cheetahs are endangered and the most important are definitely: decline in prey, loss of habitat, poaching, and high mortality of cheetah cubs. Cheetahs once lived in almost all African countries and in large parts of the Asia but today they are almost extinct in Asia, and the number of African countries where once cheetahs lived has increased to 16.

Cheetahs, the excellent hunters they are, require open plains to hunt, and habitat loss is probably the biggest reason for big decline in their population. Many cheetah cubs fail to reach adult age because of genetic factors and predation by carnivores in competition with the cheetah, such as the lion and hyena. Cheetahs are often in conflict with farmers because they attack livestock which usually ends in being shot by the angry farmers.

As you can see there are many reasons why cheetahs are endangered, and current conservation efforts are still not enough to help recovery in population of these majestic animals. There have been successful breeding programs that gave hope but without protected areas where they can freely hunt cheetahs could be in real trouble.

There are also some optimistic project like the one from Indian government that plans to bring back the cheetah in India, nearly half a century after it became extinct in the country. Seven sites - including national parks, and other open areas - in the four states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Chattisgarh have been shortlisted as potential homes for the cheetah, and have been closely monitored to find out whether they could be used are adequate habitats. Despite some negative comments like for instance that India will end up housing them in semi-captive conditions in huge, secured open air zoos, not enabling cheetahs total freedom in the wild with chances of a man-animal conflicts I still believe this is a nice project that if turns out well could be example to other similar projects, and if it doesn't turn out as well as expected at least we can learn from its mistakes in future cheetah conservation projects. Cheetahs are beautiful animals, one of the nature's top predators, and they definitely deserve survival in years to come.

Here's one very nice video that will show you cheetahs in their own element, the hunting of course.


18 comments:

  1. Cheetahs are one of my favorite animals it would terrible to see them go.

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  2. I am doing a project to get more people in my non-profit organisation called save the cheetah so far I have 1000 people supporting me and it's only been 1 month.

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  3. The Cheetah has been my favorite animal since I was a little girl and to hear this breaks my heart. I really hope they figure out some way to help them because it would be a sad thing if they were no more.

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  4. i have always loved cheetahs and since as long as i can remember i hated hearing about them becoming extinct.when i was 10 years old,i signed a petition to help save cheetahs.i felt so grown up and proud of myself.

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  5. i will be so unhappy if they go extinct because i love cats specially cheetahs!!

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  6. i think that baby cheetahs are some of the cutest animals alive. i want one and i want to give them a hug

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  7. we must save the cheetahs from becoming a rare species

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  8. cheetahs are the most cutest animals alive im doin a school project about them and an awareness poster i really hope they dont become extinct

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  9. hi!at the age of 10 i just loved watching cheetahs use their speed to run, and now because they are going to become extinct lets try to save them because they are important to us and without these widcats there wont be "the big 5"! lets try and save them!!!

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  10. Im doing a school project to save the cheetah I hope people see my view why they should stay

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  11. im doing a project with my friend and we have found out that there are 12400 in the wild.! HELP SAVE THE CHEETAHS.!!!!!!!!

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  12. I love cheetahs and would hate to see them go there weren't any in the Bronx zoo!!!!!

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  13. i am doing a projict about andangered animals and i love cheetahs and i don't what them to all go please help save the cheetahs

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  14. So sad to see a beautiful creature endangered due to selfish human acts. A new neighbor of mine went on a hunting trip to South Africa and I am appalled that people actually take trips and spend thousands of dollars hunting these endangered animals...sickening....

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  15. Why Cheetahs Are really cool animals if they go then well populations would boom for pesky rodents in africa!

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  16. i hope they dont get extinct

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  17. Cheetahs have been my favorite animal for the logest and wont stop be its sad to have to hear that their becoming extinct i love them so much and will do anything to help them ������

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  18. im doing cheetahs for my projct

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