In 1900, there were 100,000 cheetahs in the wild
Today, there are less than 8,000
As a breeding center participating in the Cheetah Sustainability Program, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center supports the health and future of cheetahs in human care and in the wild.
The world’s fastest land animal is classified as Vulnerable according to the IUCN Red List. There were 100,000 cheetahs on Earth in 1900, but less than 8,000 currently reside across only 23% of their historic African range and are extinct in their Asian range except for about 50 individuals in Iran.
Fossil Rim is Ready to Make a Difference
Since 1986, 190 Cheetah cubs have been born at Fossil Rim
Problem #1: Habitat Loss
Cheetahs require vast expanses of land with suitable prey, water and cover sources. Unfortunately, human expansion is reducing the land’s carrying capacity of cheetahs and their prey.
Problem #2: Human/Wildlife Conflict
In protected areas like wildlife reserves, cheetahs do not fare well among high densities of larger predators like lions, leopards and hyenas, all of which compete with cheetahs for prey and will kill cheetahs given the opportunity.
In such areas, the cheetah cub mortality rate can reach 90%. Therefore, roughly 90% of cheetahs in Africa live outside of protected lands and thus often come into conflict with people. Because cheetahs hunt more during the day – and the majority of them live on private farmlands – people see them more often than nocturnal predators and cheetahs are therefore blamed for livestock kills they are not responsible for.
Problem #3: Illegal Wildlife Trade
For thousands of years, cheetahs were kept in captivity by the world’s rich and royal citizens. Because cheetahs do not generally breed well in captivity, they had to be caught from the wild to meet demand, which wreaked havoc on cheetah populations, especially in Asia.
There is still a high demand for cheetahs as pets, so cheetahs are illegally captured and smuggled. Out of all cheetah cubs smuggled, only one of six survives the journey.
With all of these factors combined, it is no surprise the cheetah’s population trend is decreasing. Fortunately, Fossil Rim and other breeding centers are determined to help this beautiful animal battle its current plight and turn the tide to increase population numbers once again.