Asiatic cheetahs spotted in eastern Iran

July 14, 2019

TEHRAN – Two Asiatic cheetahs have been observed in Tabas county, located in South Khorasan province, eastern Iran, since the beginning of this year (March 21), head of Tabas department of environment has said.

Two Asiatic cheetahs have been spotted in Naybandan wildlife refuge in Tabas county, so far, Mehr news agency quoted Ali Hatami as saying on Sunday.

Also, one of the locals reported to have seen an Asiatic cheetah with her cub, Hatami noted.

The observation and census of the species is really difficult because it is always moving between Naybandan wildlife refuge and Ravar wildlife refuge in southeastern Kerman province, he explained.

Naybandan wildlife refuge is a national park, situated in 180 km south of Tabas county. Stretching to 1,500,000 hectares, it is the largest reserve in Iran, which was known to have held the highest population of Asiatic cheetahs. Since 2006, it was estimated that at least 15 cheetahs live there.

The world's fastest mammal, capable of reaching speeds of 120 kilometers per hour, once stalked habitats from the eastern reaches of India to the Atlantic coast of Senegal, once their numbers have stabilized in parts of southern Africa, but they have practically disappeared from northern Africa and Asia.

The subspecies "Acinonyx jubatus venaticus", commonly known as the Asiatic cheetah, is critically endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with fewer than 50 believed to remain in Iran.

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.

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