Cheetahs should be classified as “endangered” on an official watch list of threatened species worldwide as the fastest animal on land is quickly moving toward extinction, a new study suggested.
A team of experts led cheetah expert Dr. Sarah Durant, of the Zoological Society of London, only 7,100 cheetahs are left in the wild across Africa and in a small area of Iran due to human encroachment that has pushed the animal out of 91 per cent of its natural habitat.
The experts suggested that cheetahs should be reclassified as “endangered” species on an official watch list of threatened species worldwide. Currently, cheetahs have been classified as a “vulnerable” species.
Dr. Kim Young-Overton, of wild cat conservation group Panthera, said, “We must think bigger, conserving across the mosaic of protected and unprotected landscapes that these far-reaching cats inhabit, if we are to avert the otherwise certain loss of the cheetah forever.”
More than half of total global population of cheetahs lives in southern African nations like Botswana and Namibia. The species has almost disappeared in Asia, with the exception of fewer than fifty cheetahs living in Iran.
The study was reported in the most recent edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.