What do you call a cheetah using a photocopier? A copycat! Learn about cheetahs on this Wildlife Wednesday.
Why should you never play card games in the savannah? Because of all the cheetahs! On this Wildlife Wednesday, we’re learning (and cracking terrible jokes), about the world’s quickest kitty.
Cheetahs can be spotted throughout much of Africa, with their current range stretching from Algeria and Niger to Somalia and Kenya. You can even catch a glimpse of one subspecies, the Asiatic cheetah, as far east as Iran.
Why are they threatened?
A huge number of different factors threaten wild cheetah populations—most of them, however, are the fault of people.
In East Africa, the loss and fragmentation of their habitat is considered the primary threat. Since cheetahs require vast hunting range and live in such low densities, the majority of the area’s existing protected areas just aren’t big enough.
In North Africa and Iran, a major concern is the diminishing numbers of the cheetahs’ main food source—small, hoofed herd dwellers. As a result, the cats are turning to domestic herds for a meal and are considered a menace by farmers.
In South Africa, cheetahs are also facing persecution from farmers and ranchers even though they cause very little damage to domestic herds there.
Throughout their range, the cats also face threats from snares left for other species, and capture or death from hunters (Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Namibia allow limited capture and hunting of the animals).
Their own daytime hunting can also be disturbed by overzealous tourists looking to snap a photo of the world’s quickest cat.