Bad news strikes for the Asiatic cheetah as conservationists report them to be in danger of extinction, with their numbers dwindling down to fewer than 50 left in the wilderness.
Conservationists say that these cats, also known as the Iranian cheetahs, have been declining in number for years, with the majority of their remaining population thriving in Iran.
Their scarcity could also be because of the UN’s move on conservation budget cuts, as well as an international bank embargo against Iran. These, along with the usual reasons of overhunting, habitat loss, and lack of prey, have contributed to the cheetahs’ impending doom.
According to Jamshid Parchizadeh, an Iranian conservationist, “Lack of funding means extinction for the Asiatic cheetah, I’m afraid. Iran has already suffered from the loss of the Asiatic lion and the Caspian tiger. Now we are about to see the Asiatic cheetah go extinct as well.”
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As research suggests, the Asiatic cheetah called as Acinonyx jubatus venaticus, were once found to prosper throughout the Arabian peninsula, the Near East, India, and Pakistan. They are described to be smaller and paler, though, than the similar species of African cheetahs.
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Conservation efforts are being encouraged since these cheetahs have been classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List for over 20 years. Recently, a study relating to their health was published by the ICS or Iranian Cheetah Society, followed by an urgent pledge to those in authority to act quickly on the alarming status of these animals.
According to the ICS, “With respect to international bank embargo against Iran, we are facing serious problems for fundraising which might affect adversely our activities to save the wildlife in Iran.”