DEC 13, 2017 08:29 AM PST

Cheetahs - Vulnerable or Endangered?

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard
3 2 300

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Red List recognizes the cheetah as a “vulnerable” species. On the other hand, some researchers now contend that cheetahs need to be escalated to the “endangered” status as soon as possible.

An in-depth analysis now suggests that cheetah populations could be 11% lower than the IUCN recognizes.

Image Credit: Pixabay

After sifting through heaps of cheetah population data collected in Southern Africa between 2010-2016, an international team of 17 researchers found that there could be 11% fewer adult cheetahs in the wild than the IUCN currently acknowledges.

The findings, which relied heavily on crowd-sourced information and previous official records, have been published in the journal PeerJ this week and underscore the severity of the urgent situation surrounding these large cats.

Some of the most significant drivers behind their decline are conflicts with farmers who attempt to protect their livestock, reduction of natural prey in the wilderness, and habitat loss related to deforestation, among other things. Many of these issues prove challenging to tackle, but the researchers dug deeper to see what we could do about it.

After interviewing a plethora of local farmers in South Africa, almost half considered cheetahs to be a threat to their livestock. Furthermore, about 26.5% actively pursued the large cats when they unwelcomely wandered onto the farmers’ private lands. Typically, this meant trapping the large cats, but the cheetahs don’t always survive the pursuit, depending on the farmer.

Given the circumstances, the study underscores how spreading awareness about the cheetah’s current situation could help with conservation efforts. On the other hand, these efforts remain limited unless the IUCN recognizes these population declines and adjusts the species’ conservation status accordingly.

"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," noted Florian Weise with the claws conservancy.

Related: This dog cares for five cheetah cubs

Working with the public and using verified crowd-sourced information in tandem with official record-keeping could provide a more cost-effective means of monitoring cheetah populations. Moreover, it could yield a more positive impact on ongoing conservation efforts.

On the other hand, saving the species from the brink of extinction will require effort from more than just 17 researchers; this is something all locals will need to pitch in on if we’re to realize a world where cheetah populations rebound.

Source: EurekAlert

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 23, 2018
Earth & The Environment
APR 23, 2018
Are grasslands on the decline?
Grasslands cover about a quarter of the world’s land and are the most agriculturally important biome. Though they have many names (prairies, pampas,
MAY 28, 2018
Plants & Animals
MAY 28, 2018
Elephant Orphans Respond Unpredictably to Poaching Risks
Upon carefully examining 16 years’ worth of African elephant family movements, researchers from Colorado State University say they’ve discerned
JUN 12, 2018
Plants & Animals
JUN 12, 2018
Plastic and Other Ocean Trash to Blame for Sea Turtle's Death
The innumerable amounts of plastic and bits of trash that reside in Earth’s oceans have been wreaking a lot of havoc on marine wildlife lately. In re
JUN 19, 2018
Videos
JUN 19, 2018
Here Are a Few Good Reasons to Avoid Whale Carcasses
With whale beachings on the rise, it’s important to remind everyone about the dangers associated with approaching a whale carcass. While the dead wha
JUN 20, 2018
Cancer
JUN 20, 2018
Peruvian Plant's Unique Anti-Tumor Biological Mechanism Discovered
Plagiochiline A is a molecule that exhibits antiproliferative properties and is cytotoxic. New research outlines the unique biological mechanism valued as possible cancer therapy target.
JUN 28, 2018
Videos
JUN 28, 2018
Walk the Dog, It's Good for You
Anyone who owns a dog knows that rain or shine, snow or fair weather, the dog needs to be walked or they’re going to mess up the house. As it happens
Loading Comments...