Are Cheetahs endangered? Probably the answer is ‘Yes”. Cheetah, the fastest mammal known for its agility is a sole member of its genus. Once they roamed around the plains of four continents including Asia, Europe, Africa, and North America about 20,000 years ago. However, due to some abrupt climate changes, they are becoming endangered as one species jubatus is already extinct which lived some 10,000 years ago.
They are disappearing from most of its range and have become extinct in Asia due to its conflict with livestock farming, despite the fact that cheetah causes comparatively minor damage. According to a report, around 10,000 cheetahs were killed in Namibia in the year 1980 – 1991. Many of these species were caught on livestock farms while others captured live for zoos. Some of the other reasons were degradation of habitats and scarcity of its prey in pastoral areas.
They faced real scarcity of prey in the North Africa and Sahel where desert antelopes were hunted for recreational purposes as a result of which cheetah’s density dropped down in these areas. Moreover, these animals were also subject to hunting for their skins especially in areas where they are naturally rare such as North-east Africa.
Are Cheetahs Endangered
Cheetah cubs are easily subject to predation by other mammals including hyenas and lions which is why they have a high mortality rate. It follows that the low genetic diversity of cheetahs is a reason of poor sperm, cramped teeth, bent limbs, and birth flaws. Certain biologists hold that cheetahs are too inbred to be flourished as a species. According to scientists, cheetahs have lost most of their genetic diversity thousands of years ago but they began to diminish only in the last century.
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There are around 12,400 cheetahs left in the wild across twenty five African countries including Namibia which hosts most species than any other country. These animals are listed as critically endangered species on the US Endangered Species Act. International Union for Conservation of Nature also included cheetahs in the list vulnerable species. However, on the positive side the Cheetah Conservation Fund was established in Namibia in 1990 which holds a mission of protecting these species for another century. Besides, the organization is also trying to spread awareness among the masses relating to the preservation of cheetahs.
Perhaps the major cause of cheetah’s endangerment is extreme hunting and poaching in India. Once they roamed around in large numbers in India but they’ve become extinct in India since 1940s due to deforestation for agriculture. This is the only species that has been classified as extinct in India in the last 100 years. Several projects are being undertaken which are attempting to import cheetahs from Africa after which they’ll be bred in captivity, and in time, delivered in the wild.
Probable Reasons | Are Cheetahs Endangered
Referring to a latest research, the mortality of cheetah cubs can be as high as 95% most of it is caused by hyenas and lions. However, these animals can survive in areas where hyenas and lions exist in low densities, thereby avoiding competition. Since the population of lions and hyenas are increasing, cheetahs are more likely to survive in protected areas outside national parks and reserves.
They are now found at low densities (0.25 to 5.0 per 100 square kilometers). There are around 100 cheetahs living in Mara region; 2,500 in Namibia; 200 Asiatic cheetahs in Iran, and 300 to 500 in African north of Sahara, Niger, Chad, and Mali. These animals are viewed as real threats by farmers to their agricultural land and domestic livestock. In South Africa, the cheetah habitats overlay with the privately-owned land which was employed for livestock grazing. This indeed brought them into direct conflict with farmers and game ranchers. As a consequence, these ranchers had often been involved in shooting cheetahs at their farmlands since they’re aware of the fact that cheetahs are a peril to their livestock. Cheetahs do prey livestock including sheep and calves, and there are examples of cheetahs killing 40 to 50 sheep per week.
Humans are always involved in killing many species at a large scale to meet their commercial requirements. Cheetahs, for instance, were primarily threatened for their fur trading in the early 1970s. During those times, United States was involved in importing 25,000 skins of large cats each year which were further used in making coats, furs, and rugs.