So, how did 2022 go for the charismatic and beautiful cheetahs of Asia and Africa?
Here are some stories from around the world about cheetahs that got a lot of attention this year.
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Cheetah conservationists in Iran could go to prison for up to 10 years.
Since Iran is one of the last places the Asiatic cheetah can live, protecting it in the wilds of Iran is essential for its survival.
But the world was shocked and saddened when eight wildlife conservationists working for the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation (which also keeps an eye on Iran’s cheetah population) were arrested and accused of spying for Iran.
The Iranian Supreme Leader’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps says that a group of conservationists used camera traps to learn about Iran’s missile program.
Last week, an Iranian court found the environmentalists guilty and gave them sentences that ranged from four to ten years. International protests have started to ask the Iranian government to drop the charges against the conservationist team.
It’s a big disappointment for conservationists working to protect Asiatic cheetahs in Iran, which puts the survival of the last Asiatic cheetahs in grave danger.
The Supreme Court of India is willing to let plans to bring African cheetahs to Indian jungles go.
India has been trying for a long time to bring back its cheetah population, which was killed off during the British Raj. Cheetahs have been part of Indian culture for hundreds or even thousands of years.
In 1952, it was officially said that the Asiatic cheetah no longer lived in the Indian subcontinent. The Indian government tried for decades to bring Asiatic cheetahs into the country or make clones.
When nothing worked, they turned their attention to the African cheetah. After much discussion, the Supreme Court of India decided in August 2019 that the ambitious plan to move African cheetahs from Namibia to the Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh could go forward.
The very wealthy buying cheetahs is causing them to become extinct.
The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) says that less than 7,500 cheetahs are in the wild. Also, it is thought that about 1,000 cheetahs are being kept as pets in Gulf countries.
Even though many of these countries make it illegal to trade or own wild animals, the law is rarely followed. CCF calls this trend an “epidemic” that could soon kill off all cheetahs in Africa.
Cheetahs are smuggled out of Africa through some of its porous borders. They are then shipped to the Arabian Peninsula in crates and boxes too small for them.
Studies by CCF and CNN showed that cheetahs were being sold online on sites like Instagram, YouTube, online marketplaces, etc.
Investigations have shown that most people who buy these cheetahs don’t know how to take care of them, which often leads to the cheetahs dying too soon.
A fundraiser to save the cheetah: A glimmer of hope
The conservation and education center Wild Wonders in Bonsall, California, US, held a fundraiser on November 2, 2019, to help build a safe house for the world’s dwindling number of cheetahs.
Over 100 people came to the event, and many more gave money to help the cause. Over $13,000 was raised to help give cheetah cubs a second chance after being rescued.
The money will be used to build a safe place for the cheetah cubs taken from smugglers in Somaliland. During smuggling, one out of every three cubs dies. The facility will give them a safe place to stay while they get better.