Cheetah Facts

Namibia is one of the remaining hot spots of habitat for the cheetah (see Cheetah Geographic range). In other words it is meant to be about as good as it gets for the cheetah yet about 90% of the time it has to share farmland and predictably gets shot sometimes (Why farmers still kill cheetahs in Namibia). The various authorities allow this despite the fact that the cheetah is a protected species in Namibia, is listed in CITES (appendix 1) and is listed in the United States Endangered Species Act. Obviously there is little in the way of enforcement going on. It seems that the Namibian authorities actively encourage the shooting of cheetah. The CCF are trying to change things (see below).

Once again we are in charge. We cannot expect the cheetah to take charge of this dire situation and improve its lot. As always we struggle and fail to do the right thing.

Clearly one of the problems is that the cheetah’s remaining and central habitat is on a continent, Africa, where the people have difficulty dealing with their own problems on a basic level, never mind thinking of wild animals. No criticism is intended. And in any event they will have a different perspective on wild animals, surrounded as they are by them. They are or were common place. For African people the primary concern is survival, there is little space in the lives of the majority for a concern for the plight of the cheetah.

The population of Africa does little to aid the situation. The chart below shows the relentless rise in the past and the faster projected rise in the future. If the cheetah is already sharing land with farmers, there is frankly no chance of anything other than game reserves (probably diminished in size) and zoos for the cheetah.

Human population growth graph
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Cheetah facts – Source of information for human population growth: Wikipedia

Whereas the human population is rising inexorably, the cheetah population travels in the opposite direction and is about to hit the buffers. I see no hope for the cheetah while the human population rises as it does. I can recall many years ago scientists showing concern about the rise in world population and yet the years roll by with no change. Even today we have real and actual consequences of this problem. Recently in 2008 there were stories of world shortages of some basic food such as grain and rice. One cause was the increased population in countries such as India and China, which as they become increasingly westernized and richer, eat better and more food.

Then there is the issue of biofuels. In order to feed the world’s insatiable appetite for petrol (gas) or petroleum derivatives fuel is being increasingly produced from crops. This has had the unexpected consequence of reducing food availability of these basic crops and to the destruction of habitat. There are then a lot of negative consequences for humans of a rising world population. It is not just bad for the cheetah and all the other wild animals. Yet nothing happens. No co-ordinated efforts to control it. I know there is the fear of “social engineering” but it seems this is a matter of common sense.

Interestingly, in the West (see Europe’s population on the chart above) the projected human population is a declining one. In fact, in a number of developed countries populations are expected to decline. Even in Africa in one or two countries the Aids epidemic has caused declining populations but overall it is rising.

Conversely and in unison, the world cheetah population is in decline and currently (at 2016) stands at an estimate 6,674. See this page for more on this number.


cheetah facts – photo © Arno-&-Louise

The cheetah is built for speed and its size and physical attributes reflect this. Its very survival depends on her speed. It is speed that allows this cat to catch prey such as gazelle, effectively. It is its speed that allows her to outrun predators that would otherwise catch and kill it. The cheetah protects that attribute by giving up her caught prey to other predators, avoiding injury that could in effect end her life.

The cheetah has a noticeably small head in which are high set eyes and distinctive black lines running down from the eyes to the mouth. It is thought that this dark fur helps reduce reflection/glare and allows it to see more effectively. They are reminiscent of the black make up worn by American footballers in the USA, who do this for the same purpose.

Update 21st August 2010: A new page on cheetah description.

10 thoughts on “Cheetah Facts”

  1. I agree with your overall message, but your graph on cheetah population decline is misleading. The rate of cheetah population decline has not changed much, it has stayed consistent over the time span (according to these data points). The scale on the X-axis makes it look as though population decline was more drastic earlier in the 1900s than it is now.

  2. Yes I agree to save the cheetah.It is the only living species of its kind. The Government in Namibia should have taken more serious care for the cheetah. Cheetah are most people’s favorite animal after the lion.They should be saved from extiction.Long Live Cheetah!!

  3. I am a 9th grader at MVHS and I find that you people are sick who keep taking these poor cheetahs land they did nothing to ya’ll so maybe ya’ll should hop off there case bc they did nothing to ya’ll so quit and maybe ya’ll should move because they were there first and as for you farmers my family are farmers too we don’t shoot cheetahs so what gives you the write?
    -Alexis White, INDIA

    • Hi Alexis, thanks for visiting and commenting. I agree that cheetahs were there first. Now humans are pushing them out and persecuting them. Sadly, this is typical human behavior. I am as upset about it as you.


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