Iranians to name newly born Asiatic cheetah cubs

May 4, 2022 - 12:56

TEHRAN- A public campaign will be launched to name the Asiatic cheetahs born at the Touran Wildlife Refuge in Semnan province, east of Tehran, on May 1st.

An endangered female Asiatic Cheetah gave birth to three cubs in captivity, for the first time for the subspecies. The female named ‘Iran’ delivered the cubs by cesarean section.

However, one of the cubs who were weaker than the others lost her life on Wednesday. The mother has not accepted the cubs and they were fed by hand.

Over the past 60 years, Iran is home to the last known population of Asiatic cheetah, which once roamed across vast ranges of the west and south Asian countries, from West Asia to India.

Hassan Akbari, deputy head of the Department of Environment (DOE), said in January that the Asiatic Cheetah was down to just 12, from an estimated 100 in 2010.

The cheetah habitat in the southern part of the country is stretching to over three million hectares but is hosting only a few cheetahs.

The DOE has long been trying to breed Asiatic cheetah in the wild and in captivity so that the species is protected from extinction, but none appeared successful.

Previously, artificial insemination has been conducted on a female cheetah called ‘Delbar’ several times, and all failed.

Fastest mammal endangered

Over the past 60 years, Iran is home to the last known population of Asiatic cheetah, which once roamed across vast ranges of the west and south Asian countries, from West Asia to India. Listed as critically endangered by the IUCN, the Asiatic cheetah is among the rarest cats in the world at the subspecies level, with fewer than 50 believed to remain in Iran.

Cheetahs’ habitats in Iran are stretching over 12 million hectares of land area and over the past 16 years, only experts collaborating with the CACP project have strived to count 48 cheetahs using trap cameras and other technical methods.

Roads fragmenting cheetahs’ habitats are the main threats to 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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