General Article Time running out for cheetahs as scientists fear for future of world’s fastest land animal

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A new review of cheetah populations in southern Africa suggests there are far fewer of the animals than previously thought.

By Aristos Georgiou

A new review of cheetah populations has revealed the dire state one of the planet’s most iconic big cats and the world’s fastest land animal that can reach speeds of 70mph, prompting calls by scientists to place the species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of ‘Endangered’ species.

An international team of researchers argue that low cheetah population estimates in southern Africa and population decline warrant a downgrade from its present ‘Vulnerable’ status.

For the study, published in the journal PeerJ, researchers analysed cheetah numbers over six years in an 800,000-square-kilometre region that stretches across Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa.

“This is the area with the largest population of free-ranging cheetahs left on Earth. Knowing how many cheetahs there are and where they occur is crucial f...

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