Asiatic Cheetah - Encouraging Sightings

Asiatic Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus ssp. venaticus) in Iran aka Persian or Iranian Cheetah

The Asiatic cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus ssp. venaticus) is currently only found in Iran and is critically endangered with, it is believed, fewer than 50 individuals surviving multiple threats including fragmented and reduced habitat, farmers, cars, hunting, periods of drought and decreasing prey. To combat some of these issues, around 500,000 hectares of the 1.5 million-hectare area of Turan (which encompasses the 100,000-hectare area of Turan National Park) have been cleared of livestock, and a safe haven has been created at the Turan Biosphere Reserve for cheetahs.

Consequently, some encouraging news has recently been released: 21 Asiatic cheetahs have been observed in the north-central province of Semnan province alone since 21 March 2020. The reproductive success achieved in this area is greater than the captive breeding programmes. How do they distinguish and count the individuals? The spots in their fur are unique to each cat, just like fingerprints are to humans.


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