Although cheetahs are the fastest land animals, their number is fast dwindling. As per the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the cheetah is listed as a vulnerable species. In Africa, the cheetah is a threatened species, while in Asia it is a critically threatened species. As per the U.S. Endangered Species Act list, the cheetah is categorized as a threatened animal. It is estimated that there are just 12,400 cheetah surviving in the wild. So, why are the cheetahs becoming extinct?
There are several reasons why cheetahs are becoming extinct. The cheetah is facing a reduction in their prey, they are losing their habitat due to human activities, poachers are killing them, and there is a high rate of mortality among cheetah cubs. All these are contributing to the cheetah becoming extinct in the wild. (See Reference 1)
Once upon a time, cheetahs were flourishing throughout the African continent and most parts of Asia. Today, it is estimated that the biggest population of 2,500 cheetahs is in Namibia. The cheetah is nearly extinct in Asia with just 50 to 60 surviving in Iran, and in Africa, there are just 16 countries that are home to the cheetah living in the wild. (See Reference 1)
The cheetah requires open ground to hunt down its prey. However, due to loss of habitat, this is not possible and contributing to the decline in the cheetah population. In addition, many cheetah cubs do not attain adulthood due to genetic problems and being hunted down by predators like the hyena and lion. When a cheetah attacks livestock, it is invariably shot or beaten to death. (See Reference 1)
All these factors are contributing to the cheetahs becoming extinct. While conservationists and governments are making efforts to protect the cheetah, there is still a long way to go. In India, where the cheetah has become extinct, breeding programs are underway to re-introduce the cheetah into the wild. Similarly, in other countries efforts are being made to reduce poaching of prey and prevent loss of habitat. Hopefully, in the near future, the number of cheetah living in the wild will increase and we will be able to see this magnificent animal flourishing once more. (See Reference 1)
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