Cheetahs are iconic predators known for their incredible speed. They are also the most endangered of African cats. Their numbers have fallen drastically due to human interaction. The worst aspect of that is the theft of cheetah cubs.
The cubs are stolen at a very young age while the mother hunts. They are stolen to satisfy the exotic pet trade and many die before they are shipped out of the country to their shameless owners.
The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is working to help end this trafficking. Founded in Namibia in 1990, the fund brings together partners in the effort to save the cheetah. The organization partners with governments, conservation agencies and other stakeholders to try and provide wild cheetahs with a viable future that protects their interests and those of the humans living in their habitat.
According to a post from last November, the CCF worked to confiscate 11 cubs stolen from their mothers, who joined the more than 50 already being cared for by the CCF. Efforts to “rewild” rescued animals are ongoing with varying degrees of success. Cheetahs have been returned to the wild successfully but the process is laborious and expensive. Most rescued cheetahs live the rest of their lives in sanctuaries and zoos.
Cheetahs were once widely distributed across Africa and Asia but estimates now suggest about 7,000 live in Africa and perhaps 100 in Iran. Humans have caused the most significant decline in cheetah numbers but they are also vulnerable to lions and hyenas. the cats are able to eat animals as small as rats and rabbits and as large as springbok and warthogs. Cheetahs became extinct in India in 1952. There are plans to introduce 50 cheetahs into the country in the next 5 years. The plan was on hold due to the pandemic but is being revived. India is strongly invested in big cat conservation and is home to 15 species of wild cats. In Iran, the Iranian Cheetah Society is working to save the critically endangered Iranian cheetah and other unique Iranian wildlife.