The Cheetah is the fastest land animal on earth and Africa’s most endangered cat. Cheetahs purr like house cats - which is one reason they are under threat, as the cubs are either captured or raised in captivity to be sold as pets to the very wealthy, though only one in six survive the journey to their new prison.
As with all big cats the number one reason for their decline is habitat loss, then comes human wildlife conflict where livestock owners kill predators in revenge killings if the predator kills their livestock. Finally comes the illegal wildlife trade, the pet trade is hitting cheetahs hard as is the trade in their skins and bones.
New research led by Sarah Durant and colleagues suggests there may be as few as ~7100 cheetahs left in Africa, and that if their populations are to survive, they need good protection inside national parks to offset losses in community areas where they clash with farmers!
This is a similar emotion that we as humans feel. Our animal family is so much like us - they find mates, they have kids, they have to feed themselves and their families,
they feed themselves and their families in the same way we as humans used to! If we can find a way to believe they think, feel and have emotions, maybe we can treat them better and find a way to ensure their future on this planet. They are keystone species in their ecosystems, though we as humans are not.
National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative is working towards the conservation of African lions, leopards and cheetahs across Africa. Increasing anti-poaching efforts, installing protective bomas to stop conflict between big cats and livestock and they even monitor big cats numbers with camera traps. Visit https://www.nationalgeographic.org/projects/big-cats-initiative/ to find out how you can help save big cats today, and remember by saving apex predators we keep ecosystems balanced and healthy!
Follow me @stevewinterphoto
@stevewinterphoto @natgeo @nglive #nglive @ngwild#natgeowild @thephotosociety #NatGeoCreative #onassignment #inthefield #wildlifephotojournalism #thinktankphoto @thinktankphoto #bigcatsintiative @africanparksnetwork