Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is listed as “Vulnerable” in the IUCN Red List since 2014, and the total of the individuals living in the wild does not reach 10,000. Cheetahs have disappeared from vast areas of their historical distribution and their density is very low. Now in Africa they cover only the 10% of their original range, whereas in Asia it’s possible to find small populations only in Iran’s central deserts. Given their low density, cheetahs need very wide areas to survival, making them particularly sensitive to habitat loss and fragmentation. Furthermore, Namibia and Zimbabwe’s communities persecute cheetahs as they hold them responsible to the loss of livestock.
Genetic studies of cheetahs have shown that there is very little genetic variation within the species, possibly due to a severe bottleneck event during its evolutionary history; this complicates even further the protection of this beautiful carnivore, making it more susceptible to diseases and environmental alterations.
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