In the world there are approximately 7100 species of cheetahs and their number is declining rapidly, placing them at risk of extinction, according to a new study.
Cheetahs should be reclassified as "threatened" instead of their current status as "vulnerable" in the endangered species list maintained by the International Union for conservation of nature, the researchers say. Cheetahs have lost 91% of its habitat, which once covered areas throughout Africa and southwest Asia. Cheetahs have disappeared in Asia, in Iran there are about 50 individuals, according to a study published in the journal proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
The fastest animals roam the land and hunt in the wider area of the earth. Cheetahs are one of the "large predators", which cover an area of about 30 by 30 miles of habitat, the researchers write. They usually do not stay within protected areas. A protected area may be insufficient to ensure long-term survival," write the authors of the Zoological society of London, society for the protection of wildlife. The researchers calculated that only 2360 species of cheetahs are living in protected areas and that these places are "too small to support the groups of animals that are viable in the long term."
"The conclusion from this study is that the provision of protected areas in itself is not enough," said Dr. Kim Overton, Director of programs for the conservation of wild cats. Animals face increasing pressure from the people through shrinking habitat, loss of prey and illegal wildlife trade.
sections: Society, World News