On verge of extinction: Cheetah killed in road accident in northeastern Iran

November 17, 2018 - 23:19

TEHRAN – A female Asiatic cheetah lost life after being severely wounded in a car crash in Jajarm road in North Khorasan province, the provincial department of environment (DOE) public relations has announced.

While walking across the northern margin of Zamen-e Ahoo national park and Miandasht wildlife refuge the young female cheetah has been injured in a car accident, chief of the provincial DOE said.

An environmentalist called the region’s DOE and reported the accident, Ali Motahhari said. 

The cheetah was still alive once the DOE forces arrived at the crash scene, but she died on the way to the provincial DOE due to the severity of the injuries, he regretted.

He went on to say that later, the cheetah was diagnosed with severe spinal cord injury, which was the primary cause of death.

Despite several road warning signs near the accident scene, reckless drivers moving on high speed caused the loss of the most precious endangered species, which has raised great concerns due to the female cheetah reproduction ability, he further lamented.

Unfortunately, the event brings irreparable damage to the country's biodiversity and the valuable species conservation, he concluded.

Earlier in August, an Asiatic cheetah cub had been injured in a car crash on Abbasabad-Mayami road, north-central Semnan province, and lost life due to irreversible spinal cord injury.
Hamid Zohrabi, deputy environment chief for Department of Environment (DOE) natural environment and biodiversity directorate have criticized Transport Ministry incompetence in fencing the roads which has worsened the situation.

The cheetah/livestock interactions and the presence of human beings and guard dogs in cheetah’s habitats, road accidents and habitat fragmentation due to human encroachment are of the threats making the cheetah’s future uncertain.

Cheetahs don’t usually stay in one place and might move from one habitat to another. Mining development and road construction near reserves or between fragmented habitats also threaten the population and over the past years the unsafe roads and careless drivers have resulted in increased road kills.

The Asiatic cheetah has been listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List since 1996. Based on the sightings the number of remaining Asiatic cheetahs in Iran can be estimated at almost 50.

The Asiatic cheetah mainly inhabits the desert areas around Dasht-e Kavir in the eastern half of Iran, including parts of the Kerman, Khorasan, Semnan, Yazd, Tehran, and Markazi provinces. Most live in five protected areas, Kavir National Park, Touran National Park, Bafq Protected Area, Dar-e Anjir Wildlife Refuge, and Naybandan Wildlife Reserve. The cheetah has been listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List since 1996.


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