Monday, March 02, 2009

Iran: Asiatic cheetah needs specific habitat

Mon, 02 Mar 2009 06:49:28 GMT

Fastest land animal on the planet the Asiatic cheetah is running toward extinction, as species only has some 100 members living in Iran.

Iran's national parks and protected areas are the only places that host the 100 living Asian cheetahs.

Senior zoologist and Press TV contributor Esmail Kahrom believes collecting data about the camouflaged species to be a very difficult task.

“Visual sightings, cheetahs' feces, taping by unattended cameras and observations from helicopters are among the ways to find estimates close to real statistics,” Kahrom says.

The former director of Iran's Bureau of Wildlife says the national parks and protected areas of Iran where the big cats roam include Touran National Park in northern Iran's Semnan Province, Bahadoran regions in Yazd Province in the center of the country, and Bahram-e Gour protected areas in the southern province of Fars.

The Asiatic cheetah is a rare critically endangered subspecies of the cheetah found today only in Iran.

There are various factors that are driving the Asiatic cheetah to extinction. Dr. Kahrom suggests, however, that there are simple ways to save the endangered subspecies.

“The most successful way to maintain the Asiatic cheetah is to save their habitat. Getting sheep and other domesticated animals out of their habitats is the first step in saving the Asiatic cheetah,” he added.

“By removing the sheep from the area, enough food will be available for antelope. The antelope will tend to mate more often, providing more food for the cheetahs,” Kahrom went on.

“Nature's way is the superlative way to save the Asiatic cheetah. If they feel safe and well-fed in their habitat, they would definitely mate more often,” he claimed.

The Asiatic cheetah and the Persian leopard are the only remaining species of large cats in Iran today, having reached the brink of extinction in the last century.

The interest of the younger generation in the conservation of cheetahs and wildlife in general encourages such work.



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