Letter to Rouhani: Please save the Asiatic Cheetahs from extinction

September 7, 2016

Iranian Cheetah Society (ICS) has launched a campaign to save the remaining Asiatic cheetahs in Iran’s nature. The following is this NGO’s letter to President of the Islamic Republic of Iran;

In the name of God

From: the People of Iran

To: Dr. Hassan Rouhani, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran and President of Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution

Your Excellency, as you know, the Asiatic cheetah is in great danger of extinction. The cheetahs have lost most of their population and also their distribution range in the continents of Africa and Asia. Iran has been the last refuge of the Asiatic cheetah in Asia for years.

The last remnants of the Asiatic cheetahs, which might be about 40 individuals most optimistically, are grappling with different problems. Getting killed in car accidents on the roads and also by herds’ dogs, extensive destruction of habitat by building mines and roads, poaching, illegal hunting of their prey, destruction and insecurity of pastures due to irregular and unauthorized grazing of livestock, and insecurity of cheetahs’ migration paths are some of the Asiatic cheetahs’ problems in their natural habitats. In such circumstances, the conservation of cheetahs is beyond the control of an organization or an institution, therefore, cross-sectoral contribution and public help are needed to provide all the technical, social, economic and legal infrastructures.

Unfortunately, recent scientific surveys conducted over the past two years show a sharp decline in the number of female cheetahs; as of now, only two females have been spotted across Iran. In this situation, conservation efforts needs to be expended immediately; otherwise, the Asiatic cheetah is going to go extinct at the end of the present decade of the Iranian calendar. The proposed conservation efforts are listed as following:

A. Preventing the establishment and implementation of any development plan such as roads and mines in cheetahs’ habitats

B. Increasing the number of ranger and also improving their equipment in cheetahs’ habitats

C. Purchasing ranches inside the cheetahs’ habitats

D. Protecting the cheetahs’ migration paths across the existing protected areas, especially in North Khorasan and Semnan Provinces

E. Securing the black spots of the roads to avoid any car accidents with cheetahs and other wildlife, especially Abbas Abad axis on Semnan-Mashhad road

F. Involving local communities in ecotourism and habitat conservation

G. Registering the 9th Shahrivar (August 30th) as "Iranian Cheetah National Day" in the official calendar of Iran to raise public awareness, sensitivity, and community participation to protect the cheetahs 22 years ago on this day, a mother cheetah with her three cubs went to drink water. Unfortunately, they were attacked by local people. The mother ran away, but two cubs were killed and only one survived. This cub was named Marita and lived in captivity for the rest of his life. 13 years later, Iranian Cheetah Society proposed that this day should be considered “Iranian Cheetah National Day,” and it has been celebrated as such since then.

Thus, the undersigned do hereby declare to you, as the highest state authority, the demand for the implementation of the above measures.

The Asiatic cheetah is one of the most well-known and popular symbols of Iran at the present. We hope that with your support and also the cooperation of all related organizations, the fastest runner on the planet can be preserved.

Yours sincerely,

People of Iran

Copy to; Dr. Masoumeh Ebtekar, Vice President and Cheif of Iran’s Department of the Environment to be informed.

Copy to; Mr. Ali Jannati, Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance and President of General Culture Council of Iran to be informed.

Copy to; Mr. Mohammad Reza Mokhber Dezfouli, Secretary of Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution of Iran to be informed.

Copy to; Mr. Seyed Hossein Shahmoradi, Secretary of General Culture Council of Iran to be informed.

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