The cheetah is one of the most amazing cats on the planet. This graceful and powerful animal with sleek fell and amber eyes is famed as the fastest, and among the most fascinating, short-distance runner in existence. Scientists believe cheetahs can accelerate from walking speed to about 65 kilometers an hour in less than two seconds and briefly explode to top speeds of 110 kilometers an hour. This feature gives cheetah an additional advantage since it is predator with spectacular hunting style. Conservationists estimate that around the year 1900, hundreds of thousands of cheetahs lived throughout most of Africa, western Asia, and India. But now it is endangered, largely because people have taken over much of the cat's habitat and killed off the small antelope the cheetah hunts for food. People have also killed many cheetahs directly. By the early 1970's, the fur trade had become a major threat to large cats such as tigers and cheetahs. At the time, the United States alone was importing 25,000 large-cat skins each year for fur coats, rugs, and other fashion items. But now, as humanity cares much more about the environment, the survival of the cheetah is a current task for lots of people. There are some ways to protect this animal, like certan restriction for hunting them, creating special zoos, animal parks and game reserves. Moreover, fo for decades, researchers at zoos and cheetah breeding centers have been trying to boost the cheetah population by encouraging captive cats to breed. It is too early, though, to tell whether biologists will win for wild cheetahs the kind of security that captive cheetahs seem finally to have grasped.
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