Rare Asiatic cheetah sighted in north-central Iran

May 31, 2019

TEHRAN – An Asiatic cheetah has been caught on cameras near a watering trough at Khar Turan National Park of Shahroud county located in north-central province of Semnan, YJC reported on Wednesday.

The report claimed that the cheetah’s stomach is strangely big which might be a sign of pregnancy.

In less than two months, cameras installed to determine the exact distribution of the species have captured photos of two Asiatic cheetahs in Shahroud county.

Listed as critically endangered by the IUCN, the Asiatic cheetah is among the rarest cats in the world at subspecies level, with fewer than 50 believed to remain in Iran.

The cheetah thrives in open lands, small plains, semi-desert areas, and other open habitats where prey is available. 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.

Roads fragmenting cheetahs’ habitats are the main threats for the species, while guard dogs and stray dogs, drought spells, decreasing population of the prey species to support the cheetahs, and habitat loss are also other factors endangering the sparse population of the cheetahs in the country.

Abbasabad-Mayami road, linking north-central Semnan to Mashhad, northeastern province of Khorasan Razavi, is one of the deadliest roads for Asiatic cheetahs as 8 cheetahs have been killed in this area over the past 10 years.

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