Endangered cheetahs in Iran

This video from Iran says about itself:

16 April 2014

The Asiatic cheetah or Iranian cheetah is a critically endangered species and an important part of Iran’s natural and cultural heritage.

Masood Hatami is a former hunter and nature lover who has dedicated his life to preserving nature and wildlife. Hatami was the man behind the first tangible action to protect the Asiatic cheetah in Iran.

From Panthera.org:

A Visit to Iran

George Schaller, PhD
Vice President

April 5, 2016

Iran, February 7-March 1, 2016

This February, I visited Iran to learn about the progress and problems in the conservation of the Asiatic cheetah. This distinct subspecies of cheetah is critically endangered—it once ranged from the Middle East to India and central Asia, but now only Iran’s small population of about 50 animals remains. With so few left, they are very difficult to spot—even for those who study them.

On our last day in the field, after about two weeks, we met a herder with his flock of sheep and goats near the border of the Miandasht reserve. He pointed across the plain to a brush covered knoll about 300 meters away. There three cheetahs, a female with two large cubs, ambled around, and sometimes just stood or reclined. Their pale color blended so well into the dun landscape that they seemed more a vision than reality. The cheetahs appeared to ignore us, and we did not approach them. A half an hour later we left, quietly taking with us a treasured memory. …

Cheetahs in Iran have been legally protected since 1959, but serious threats are threatening their survival:

A severe lack of prey due to poaching. Poachers enter reserves on motorcycles and pursue gazelles until they collapse, depriving cheetahs of an essential food source. Guard posts for many reserves are severely underfunded and therefore absent or inadequate. Protection here is an absolute priority.

Human development, particularly roads and highways. In just one 15 km stretch of highway on the northern edge of Touran, two female cheetahs and two cubs were struck by cars and killed in the last three years. At least 6 cheetahs have died on highways in Kalmand. Wildlife overpasses must be built at known cheetah crossings and low speed limits established and enforced.

Herders’ dogs. Many herders use dogs to guard their herds. These dogs—of which there are often three to five per herd—may be semi-feral, aggressive and free-roaming. In the past three years, these dogs have been involved in 5 cheetah killings in Touran, an area with 176 herder households using the reserve seasonally. Since families tend to protect herds themselves or hire people to do so, dogs should be completely banned from national park and wildlife refuges.

Slower speed, tricky turns give prey a chance against cheetahs and lions. A treasure trove of chase data from the wild shows how to escape more athletic predators: here.

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