What is starkly apparent when working on this map is the rapidity of change of the cheetah geographic range, which is marked on the map above in red (as at 2009). And as expected it always becomes smaller. Wild Cats Of The World by Mel and Fiona Lunquist published in 2002, describes a range that is considerably larger and much less fragmented. A lot of the fragmentation has occurred in Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya. In this book, Somalia, for example, is shown as part of the range of the cheetah. According to this map based upon the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, the cheetah no longer occupies Somalia. That process, if accurate, has taken 7 years!
The cheetah was once distributed widely in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. Hundreds of years ago it was common in central and west India. It also occupied, the Middle East, Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and the Sind. Look at the map above and be shocked. Although it still exists in Africa, it occupies 24% of its historic range on this continent according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Here is a table setting out information on a country by country or regional basis. Note however that there are great gaps in knowledge as to the cheetah geographic range and where a country is not mentioned it is because there seems little to report:
|Country – Area||Status as at 2009 -more information can be read and seen if you click on the blue flags: |
|Asia||Lost almost all its range, which once, about about 100 years ago, extended from the Mediterranean to central India. It is now confined as can be seen in the map to Iran and the population there is extremely fragile at 60-100 and critically endangered. It is unlikely to survive¹. Reasons|
for almost complete destruction of cheetah in Asia: (1) Cheetahs were captured and trained to hunt – see Hunting with Cheetahs (2) prey base lost – gazelles in particular and (3) habitat loss through human development/activity.
|Southern and Eastern Africa||Currently, these are the core areas of the cheetah geographic range. Namibia being an important country. However, only 6% of the historical range in eastern Africa is occupied by the cheetah¹. The range size in eastern Africa is now 310,586 km². See: Why farmers still kill cheetahs in Namibia.|
|Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, Angola, Mozambique and Zambia||The distribution in these countries remain “largely unknown”¹. Please note that this means the map needs some work! Somalia is indicated as I have said as having no cheetahs. Sudan is marked as containing 5 small and highly fragmented ranges. Updates are needed.|
|Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Malawi||As at 2008 cheetah are extirpated (totally destroyed) from large parts of these countries¹|
|Egypt||Could be extinct and if not a highly limited population is confined to the small area illustrated¹.|
Cheetah range or distribution – Sources: