The Endangerment of the Cheetah
The cheetah, one of gods best creations. They are best known for living in the grasslands of East Africa, in vast national parks like the Serengeti or Masai Mara. However, cheetahs can range throughout any open country, from savannah to scrubland to desert, wherever there is adequate prey for them to survive. Today the Southwestern African country of Namibia is home to one of the largest populations of cheetah in all of Africa.
Cheetahs were once found all throughout Africa, and in large parts of Asia. But today, they have almost become extinct in Asia. It has been said that only 12,400 cheetahs are left in Africa with the largest population living in Namibia of 2,500.
There are a number of factors that are combined together resulting in the poor condition of this endangered animal. The development actions of man have caused a habitat loss to this animal, and made them homeless. It has also resulted in a decline in the number of prey. Poaching is another reason for the numbers of this animal to decline. They are widely hunted for sport, and their furs are sold at the premium price in the black market. And farmers kill them when they attack their livestock.
Genetic inbreeding due to their limited gene pool is yet another cause of their declining numbers. It puts them at greater risk of contaminating diseases.
High death rate of cheetah cubs has raised another concern for this endangered species. The death rate is around 90 percent, and many of them cannot reach the adult age because of genetic factors and predation by carnivores. In Kenya’s Masai Mara reserve, their numbers have decreased from 60 to 45 in 2007.
Captive breeding of this animal has been successful. But, once they are able roam freely in the wild, without protected boundaries, their conservation will be called successful. For their complete recovery, many governments are initiating steps to ensure it.
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