IUCN Red List: Cheetah must be declared endangered species, say scientists

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Scientists want Cheetahs to be listed as Endangered species
Scientists want Cheetahs to be listed as Endangered species

New Delhi : With Cheetahs disappearing in mass, the scientists have raised their voices to list them under endangered species. They say that by listing the cheetahs from vulnerable to endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, more attention and support can be pushed for their existence.

Officially, the cheetahs are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

In a new study, the scientists have raised demands of listing them as endangered yet again. A team of researchers revealed that only 3,577 adult cheetahs are alive in southern Africa–within an area of 789,800 square kilometers across Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

The findings from the study have been published in the journal PeerJ.

“This is the area with the largest population of free-ranging cheetahs left on Earth,” co-author of the study Varsha Vijay of Duke University said in a statement. “Knowing how many cheetahs there are and where they occur is crucial for developing suitable conservation management plans for the species.”

The researchers estimated that a little more than three thousand more cheetahs could be living in the potential habitat areas.

“We know about three and a half thousand cheetahs. There could be twice as many, but we can’t prove it,” lead author Florian Weise of the U.S.-based conservation group Claws Conservancy told National Geographic news.

50 percent of the listed Cheetahs live inside some form of protected area, such as Kruger National Park in South Africa, the study estimates. The rest fights life in the unprotected lands.

Cheetahs are mainly get killed by humans in a bid to ensure their safety. “The future of the cheetah relies heavily on working with farmers who host these big cats on their lands, bearing the heaviest cost of coexistence,” said Weise.

Given that the study’s population estimate for the cheetah is 11 percent lower than the IUCN’s current assessment for the same region, the authors write that the species should be urgently up-listed from Vulnerable to Endangered status. This revision of status could help conservationists create more awareness about the species and “open more avenues to fund conservation and population monitoring efforts,” they say in the statement.

This study was supported by the National Geographic Society’s Big Cats Initiative.