JAN 02, 2017 11:10 AM PST

Cheetahs Could be Closer to Extinction Than Originally Thought

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

In a world where animals are finding it harder to cope with the ever-growing human population and over-development of our wilderness, the majestic cheetah could be on even more of a a global decline than originally thought that’s sending them right towards extinction.

The cheetah is in more trouble than originally thought.

Image Credit: National Geographic

Outside of protected areas, where lots of cheetah are known to roam, there’s very little information about the amount still walking the Earth. Additionally, there’s very little we can do to protect cheetah when they’re roaming outside of protected areas, so they’re exposed to more threats while abroad.

The findings appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and outline the importance of declining cheetah numbers, which are reportedly widespread around the world.

Cheetahs tend to roam a lot, which means the protected area approach isn’t very effective at protecting them. There are estimated to be around 7,100 of these creatures still walking the Earth today, but as many as 77% of them are roaming outside of protected areas, which is alarming.

Outside of the protected areas, these creatures aren’t efficient at repopulating. Since more than ¾ of all wild cheetahs exist in these regions, that would mean only ¼ of the species is repopulating as efficiently as possible. The big picture is cheetah numbers are declining sharply as a result of these factors.

“This study represents the most comprehensive analysis of cheetah status to date,” study lead author Dr. Sarah Durant said. “Given the secretive nature of this elusive cat, it has been difficult to gather hard information on the species, leading to its plight being overlooked.”

“Our findings show that the large space requirements for cheetah, coupled with the complex range of threats faced by the species in the wild, mean that it is likely to be much more vulnerable to extinction than was previously thought,” she continued.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) currently notes the cheetah as “vulnerable,” but the report in PNAS suggests that this might be an underestimation. The wild cheetah could be extremely susceptible to extinction, so the authors believe this title should be escalated to “endangered.”

While there are still a lot of questions, one thing that’s obvious is we’ll need to significantly change the way we tackle cheetah conservation. We’ll have to take a much more aggressive approach if we’re to save the species, because at this rate, things look pretty grim for it.

Source: Phys.org

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
APR 09, 2021
Plants & Animals
Celebrating National Pet Day
APR 09, 2021
Celebrating National Pet Day
Sunday, April 11, is National Pet Day! From pandemic companions to viral videos, pets are a huge part of our lives. Even ...
MAY 07, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Did Scientists Just Find Mushrooms on Mars?
MAY 07, 2021
Did Scientists Just Find Mushrooms on Mars?
While experts agree that most life on Earth would not be able to survive on Mars, NASA researchers have previously sugge ...
MAY 13, 2021
Plants & Animals
Brood X Cicadas Are Here - Help Scientists Track Them
MAY 13, 2021
Brood X Cicadas Are Here - Help Scientists Track Them
Download this smartphone app to help document one of North America's natural wonders.
JUN 03, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Why did all the sharks die?
JUN 03, 2021
Why did all the sharks die?
New research published in the journal Science reports on the discovery of a massive shark die-off - nearly 19 million ye ...
JUL 16, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Climate Change Causes Carbon Loss in Soil & Root Problems in Plants
JUL 16, 2021
Climate Change Causes Carbon Loss in Soil & Root Problems in Plants
Concerns about runaway climate change and tipping points of no return are constant sources of fear in our warming world. ...
JUL 25, 2021
Health & Medicine
Warming climates contributes to increasing heat stress, especially for vulnerable populations
JUL 25, 2021
Warming climates contributes to increasing heat stress, especially for vulnerable populations
New research found that an warmer temperatures lead to an increase in heat stress in humans, which is especially harmful ...
Loading Comments...