CHEETAHS: THE FASTEST ON EARTH
Decline in the cheetah population
Now extinct in 20+ countries of its original range.
© Copyright Sean Lee-Davies for Project C:Change
Weight: 110-140 lbs (50-64kg)
Top Speed: 70mph (113 km/hr)
Lifespan: 10-12 years
The cheetah is the world’s fastest land animal reaching speeds of 113km per hour. However, as with other big cats, these agile felines are victims of human activity. Livestock ranchers often blame cheetahs for killing their property and hunt them in return. Illegal trafficking also threatens the cheetah population. Aside from turning them into morbid house decorations, many human buyers purchase them as pets. To supply this demand, smugglers illegally capture cheetahs in the wild and transport them out of Africa; of all cheetah cubs smuggled, only one in six survives the journey.
Scientists believe that with the shrinking habitat, cheetahs are losing their advantage to other stronger predators, such as lions, leopards and hyenas. There has been a drastic decrease in the number of cheetahs remaining in the wild, from 100,000 a century ago to fewer than 10,000 today, making them Africa’s most endangered big cat.