The cheetah is distinguished by being the fastest land animal in the world, but as a big cat it has a common destiny with the rest: its early extinction if it is not remedied by humans, who are guilty of this.
A difficult situation that goes on for too long, to the point of putting the species on the ropes. According to a British study published on December 26, the cheetah has lost habitat in an alarming way.
- A few thousand copies
- The main threats
- More vulnerable than thought
- A nosedive
A few thousand copies
Today it is only present in 9 percent of the surface it occupied at the beginning of the last century. This means the loss of more than 90 percent of their habitat . But that’s not all, because unsurprisingly, their numbers have also drastically decreased.
Returning to the study, published in the American journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), fewer than 7,000 cheetahs currently survive in the wild in the world, almost entirely on the African continent.
If their number refers us to a small population, in comparative terms the contrast is shocking. Not surprisingly, the world population of cheetahs was around 100,000 at the beginning of the 20th century.
In other words, the cheetah is hopelessly disappearing. Although saving it is possible, and only the human being, responsible for its drama, can and must stop its countdown to extinction. Urgent action is needed, the Zoological Society of London reminds us .
“The cheetah runs straight towards extinction, and could disappear soon if measures are not taken urgently,” reads a statement recently released by the entity .
The main threats
Hunting, trafficking clandestine of animals and destruction of their habitat are the main threats facing the cheetah today. Many of them, in fact, are uprooted from their habitat and survival is very low, with the aggravation that the vast majority of them live in unprotected areas.
They are considered pets of luxury , so they are puppies domestica from countries like Qatar or UAE, or are used for hunting, following ancient traditions. A dark panorama that, in sum, has led the authors of the study to request that the species go from its current classification as “vulnerable” in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to be considered “in Danger of extinction”.
More vulnerable than thought
The authors of the study explain that, despite being a very popular species due to its great speed, which can reach peaks of 120 kilometers per hour and an average that ranges between 98 and 108, until recently we did not know that it is an animal especially vulnerable.
Raising awareness in society about this vulnerability is one of the main objectives of this research. Above all because, on the other hand, it was not considered to be the case and, therefore, there is a lot to progress in this regard.
In addition, its withdrawn nature prevents effective control of the population, making it more difficult to monitor and therefore also take effective measures to help the species.
The figures are grim. If its population is sparse and plummeting, when you look at this decline in some of the enclaves where it still exists, possible optimism goes out the window.
For example, in Zimbabwe the population has gone from 1,200 specimens to only 170 in three decades or, for example, in Iran only 43 cheetahs have been recorded, the only place where the Asian cheetah survives.
The Asian cheetah is a subspecies of the cheetah, which once lived in different countries on the Asian continent, such as Saudi Arabia to India, but today they can only be found in Iran.
Despite efforts to help the species in Iranian territory since 2001, their number continues to decrease, laments the scientist and leader of the NGO Iranian Cheetah Society (ICS), Morteza Eslami:
We have reinforced vigilance to protect them and launched educational projects in areas close to their habitat. In addition, to sensitize the population, the Asian cheetah is the image of the Iranian soccer team jerseys and, among other initiatives, the Iranian airline Meraj has a drawing of a cheetah on the fuselage.
However, they are insufficient measures. If not quickly acted on in an effective way, the cheetah could soon be a mere memory. The sixth mass extinction in which we are immersed would have claimed a new victim. Let us not forget that the human being is responsible and victim of the sixth wave of biological mass extinction of the planet.
That is, since we depend on the environment, we are also in danger, and which boomerang could end up assuming the practical disappearance of humanity. Not today or tomorrow, but much earlier than we imagine.
In short, for the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), an impressive feline whose ancestors stepped on Earth more than two million years ago, the emergence of the homo genus at that time was also very bad news.
Going further back, it was also for him that a part of them ended up evolving into homo sapiens, a true predator and destroyer of their environment. Not surprisingly, it is said that the human being is the most dangerous animal in the world , and the only one that destroys its habitat.
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