Africa’s cheetah population has drastically declined. It’s estimated that only about 7,000 remain in the wild (just 1,300 in South Africa). They have been reduced from eight subspecies to just one. They can only be found on 10% of their historical range. In just one African country, Somaliland, at least 300 cheetah cubs are smuggled and sold every year.
It should come as no surprise that the cheetah is today listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) RED LIST of Threatened Species.
And you can be certain that Animal Survival International (ASI) is committed to using all its power to help save the cheetah in South Africa! We need your help!
While South Africa is recognized as the only country in the world with an increasing population of cheetahs – there remains massive reason for concern. Indeed, intensive conservation programs have helped the cheetah population in South Africa increase from approximately 500 in 1975 to a little more than twice this number today – this is progress, but it has taken 45 years!
Contrast the number of cheetahs today with the more than 100,000 cheetahs who once roamed the African bush!
Cheetahs are threatened and at risk of extinction for several reasons:
- They are caught and sold alive into the exotic pet market,
- poached for their skin,
- illegally trophy hunted, and
- subject to the unrelenting destruction of their habitat.
On top of all these pressures, scientists warn that cheetah reproduction is being considerably slowed because of climate change. Due to warmer temperatures, male cheetah’s testosterone levels have been reducing and sperm counts 10 times lower than that of domestic cats are being found.
Add to all of this the challenge of ensuring species diversification (and avoiding inbreeding), which are critical to maintaining a healthy population. Relocation of the cats across South Africa’s provinces is essential, and already underway, to advance diversification of the cheetah gene pool and help save the species.
Recently, South African National Parks (SANParks) appealed to ASI for help purchasing two hi-tech cheetah tracking collars for use at Mountain Zebra National Park (MZNP). A female cheetah is about to be relocated to the park (where her future breeding partner is already a resident) to expand the genetics of the cheetah population in the park. Understandably, time is of the essence – we need to obtain and fit the collars as soon as possible.
We need your help to raise the funds required to purchase the two cheetah tracking collars. The total cost is reasonable: $4,280 (£3,160). The collars will make a real difference.
By collaring the two cheetahs, we will be able to track and monitor the health and wellbeing of this genetically important pair and ensure that they have the best chance of starting a family. Newborn cheetah cubs are MZNP’s only hope of preserving and growing the cheetah population in the park.
The collars will also help us to ensure that the breeding pair doesn’t encounter farmers who will shoot them as ‘nuisances’ to their livestock. A murdered mother cheetah comes with heartbreaking consequences for cubs waiting at home for dinner.
It goes without saying that cheetahs play a vital role in the ecosystem. They are a keystone species. Their survival is already severely threatened and the combination of climate change, illegal wildlife trafficking and loss of genetic diversity could well result in extinction.
How ironic – the cheetah may be the world’s fastest land animal, but it won’t be able to outrun its own extinction! Unless we help!
It is not too late to help change the fate of Africa’s cheetahs! But time is slipping away.
The greater the genetic difference between one individual cheetah and the next (and the next), the stronger the offspring (and the next) and the better the chances are that the species can survive these challenging times.
Help us give them a chance.
Help us give their babies a chance.
Help us give the species a chance.