Three Asiatic cheetah cubs spotted in northeastern Iran

January 5, 2020 - 18:27

TEHRAN – Three Asiatic cheetah cubs have been spotted in Bardaskan county, northeastern Khorasan Razavi province, for the second time since the beginning of this year (March 21, 2019), head of the provincial department of environment (DOE) has said.

Four locals have reported sighting of three Asiatic cheetah cubs in Bardaskan’s wildlife refuge, IRIB quoted Touraj Hemmati as saying on Tuesday.

So, DOE forces have been dispatched to the area for further investigations, after two days of monitoring and field surveys in a region between Daruneh Protected Area and Dasht-e Laghari Wildlife Refuge. The team was able to capture the cheetahs’ footprints at several points, he explained.

It was the second cheetah sighting recorded in the area since the beginning of this year.

Noting that there have been many reports of cheetahs being seen in the city by locals, he said that earlier in July this year, a cheetah has been observed by the locals.

He went on to highlight that vegetation cover and favorable food and water resources in the area are the reasons behind the species presence in the area.

“The first Asian cheetah was observed and photographed in the province by the environmentalists in July 2012, and we have not yet received any evidence to prove the cheetah presence in the area, and this event was a good news for nature lovers,” he concluded.

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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