If you believe in God, he/she got it wrong. If you believe in evolution and nature, it got it wrong too. One species, the human, is driving all other species off the planet starting with the most beautiful and most rare.
I know a bit about wild cat conservation and world cat population numbers. We all know about the precariously endangered tiger and the rapid decline in lion numbers. Now the latest conservation catastrophe to hit the newspapers concerns the glorious cheetah, the world’s fastest land animal. It is this iconic status which makes it more endangered than it otherwise would be in part because rich Arabs like to keep them as pets. This translates to steeling cubs from the wild.
The shockingly rapid decline in world cheetah numbers is entirely due to human activity, mainly farmers and hunters in Africa.
The cheetah has a large home range (its territory). There is not enough space left in Africa to give this species of wild cat the unfettered territory it needs to survive and so it shares its land with the land of farmers resulting in the inevitable clash of desires and objectives. The cheetah kills livestock and the farmer kills the cheetah.
Snares rip off cheetah limbs, poachers trade in cheetah skins and as mentioned wealthy Arabs pay big money for cheetah cubs. Africa has many treasures one of which is its wildlife. The African in often poor. The rich in Asia and the West pay handsomely to hunt the cheetah, or to buy its skin. The pressure from commerce is so high that is it impossible to see how conservationists can protect this wild cat.
Especially when the organisation/treaty (CITES1) designed to stop trade in wild animals and their body parts grants 50 licenses to Zimbabwe to hunt and export the cheetah. This is madness because it is in Zimbabwe where a third of all cheetahs used to live but now due to changes in farm management and land use the cheetah population has slumped to 170 from 1,200 in 16 years (source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). Zimbabwe has the worst record for cheetah conservation. This is unsurprising considering Mugabe runs the country and it is the country where an American dentist and his cohorts killed Cecil the lion without sanction.
The cheetah has been driven out of 91% of its historic territories. You may have read that only an estimated 7,100 exist on the planet. I have also read that there were over 100,000 at start of the 1900s.
Hunters, usually I regret to say from America, pay a trophy fee of between $3,000 and $6,000 to hunt one.
The problem of conservation is exacerbated by the low fertility rate of this cat. Nature, too, makes it hard for the cheetah to survive but this would not be a problem if humans left them alone. Other predators such as the hyena steal their kills and kill their cubs.
I believe it is going to be impossible to provide safe havens for this cat because, as mentioned, their territory is so large and Africa as I recall has one of the world’s fastest growing human populations. The African human population and associated destructive commercial activity is expanding rapidly pushing all other species off this continent. Something has gone terribly wrong. The human has failed the planet and nature.
Note: 1 — Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and Wild Flora and Fauna