Cheetahs are one of the most amazing of all land mammals. Built for great speed, they are specialists when it comes to hunting fast, agile prey animals in broad daylight. Capable of reaching from zero to hundred kilometers an hour within a matter of seconds, they have evolved into developing a sleek and slender physique that aids them in their highly specialized lifestyle. Whilst a long and thin body enables Cheetahs to be fast and athletic, this also means that they are lighter and weaker when it comes to conflicts with other large predators of Africa, including lions, hyenas and leopards. The bigger animals waste no opportunity to steal a Cheetah's kill or kill its cubs.
Cheetahs face other threats too. The most significant ones in the last few decades have been conflicts with human and loss of habitat. As human population and development increases in Africa, Cheetahs are finding it increasingly difficult to survive and take down their normal prey animals. As a result, they often go after herds of cattle owned by farmers. This brings them into conflict with people who at times shoot the big cats in retaliation.
Then there is the problem of limited genetic diversity in Cheetahs. Cheetahs have evolved from a relatively restricted gene pool and face multiple biological threats owing to this. They are susceptible to diseases and genetic defects and infant mortality is high. As a result Cheetahs are the most endangered of the three big cats in Africa.
There are various organizations working for the welfare of Cheetahs around the world. One of the most prominent is Cheetah Conservation Fund. Founded in 1990 by Dr Laurie Marker, Cheetah Conservation Fund is a globally renowned organization working tirelessly for the study and conservation of these beautiful felines. Based in Namibia, the country with the highest Cheetah population in the world, Cheetah Conservation Fund has played a significant role in the preservation of Cheetahs worldwide. Apart from conducting a great deal of scientific research over the past couple of decades, the non-profit organization has also educated farmers and locals and played a role in lowering the incidence of man-animal conflict and stabilizing the big cat's population in that part of the world. If you are a Cheetah lover, then you'd definitely want to check out their website and go through their conservation efforts, here: www.cheetah.org
There are a handful of Asiatic Cheetahs in Iran too and research is being conducted to preserve them in their natural habitat. It remains to be soon, though if the successful efforts of Cheetah Conservation Fund can be replicated to help save the beautiful cats there. The need above all is to better educate the natives, in parts where Cheetahs coexist with humans around the world. A sustainable ecosystem can only be established through study and understanding of the animal's behavior and minimizing of conflicts between humans and predators.