In recognition and support of International Cheetah Day and the ICD Challenge today’s news is all about these amazing cats.
Facts, art, videos, links, ways to help, and more.
Cheetah Groups on DA
Ways to Help
Links (info, videos, and more)
Cheetah Groups on DA
Most people know that cheetahs are fast, spotted, live in Africa, and have claws that don’t fully retract, But there is a lot more to this amazing animal than that.
The Cheetah evolved in Africa during the Miocene Epoch, however the last common ancestor of all current populations lived in Asia around 11Million years ago.
Today Cheetahs can be found from South Africa to parts of South-East Asia, with some reports of isolated populations reaching into India, though this is considered doubtful at best.
The cheetah is labeled as “Vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, meaning that unless the circumstances threatening the Cheetah’s long-term survival drastically improve it is very likely to become Endangered.
Today the Cheetah and it’s 6 subspecies (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus, Acinonyx jubatus hecki, Acinonyx jubatus raineyii, Acinonyx jubatus jubatus, Acinonyx jubatus soemmeringii, & Acinonyx jubatus velox; the taxonomic statuses of which are largely in debate) are facing threats from a number of different sources including illegal hunting, predation by other carnivores, loss of habitat, genetic disorders, and illness.
The subspecies Acinonyx jubatus venaticus, the Asiatic Cheetah is considered to be “Critically Endangered”, meaning this subspecies is teetering on the edge of extinction, with a remaining population of 70 to 100 cats in the wild.
Cheetahs live in a variety of different habitats from areas of dense vegetation/brush to wide open flat savannahs, to mountainous terrain and desert-like prairie.
Whatever that landscape, cheetahs require vast expanses of land with abundant prey.
Cheetahs are carnivores, mostly hunting animals under 80Lbs with an average hunt success rate of only 50%.
Unlike most cats, Cheetahs are diurnal, using their keen vision to hunt almost exclusively during daylight hours. This method of hunting reduces the risk of colliding with other larger carnivores, but puts additional strain on the cheetah’s body. A high metabolism combined with huge bursts of energy to chase down food often during the hottest part of the day results in extreme fatigue. After a chase cheetahs sometimes need to rest for half an hour or more before moving on.
The Cheetah is truly the fastest feline in the world, with a top speed of 70 to 75 Miles per hour. They can go from standing to 60 miles per hour in just under 3 seconds, accelerating as fast as a Ferrari, and may maintain this speed for a distance of up to 1,600 ft.
This achievement is only made possible by highly specialized physical adaptations, including an enlarged heart and lungs, powerful fast-twitch muscles, long rudder-like tail (balance & steering aid), and an extremely flexible spine. The Cheetah’s body mechanics further aid running by forcing huge amounts of air in and out through their large nostrils with each stride. Cheetahs may take up to 150 breaths per minute. The Cheetah is also 1 of only 3 cat species to have semi-retractable claws, giving them added traction.
But the specialization doesn’t stop at running. The characteristic black tear-marks on a Cheetah face help reduce glare from the sun. Their tawny spotted coat provides camouflage in everything from grass to bush. High set eyes and long legs allow the cheetah to see above low-lying objects.
Cheetahs also lack the ability to roar but can purr when inhaling.
The cheetah is considered a docile cat, easily handled and tamed. Ancient Egyptians often kept and trained Cheetahs for hunting and racing events. This tradition spread all the way to India where the practice was continued by nobility into the twentieth century.
Other cutlers regarded cheetah pelts and furs as status symbols. Cheetah skin wraps often adorned the bodies of great leaders and kings.
Still others including Genghis Khan kept cheetahs purely as pets.
While Cheetah sports and kingly wraps have all but disappeared cheetahs are still tamed and kept as pets to this day.
Though this species has never been truly domesticated it has had a long standing history with humans, and enchants many of us today.
All around the world people are pulling together to help save this amazing sprinter, before it’s too late.
But with only 12,400 cheetahs remaining in the wild, the ever growing need for more farm land, high mortality rate, and devastating genetic abnormalities due to inbreeding it is a constant struggle.
I urge everyone who sees something special in these animals to educate themselves about the cheetah’s plight and do whatever you can, no matter how small to help keep this truly amazing animal around for generations.
Ways to Help
There are several day-to-day ways to help wildlife, from not buying animal skins to just being conscious of our impact on the environment.
But, here are a few ways to get a little more involved in the fight to save the fastest cat in the world.
The Cheetah Conservation Fund www.cheetah.org/?nd=home; here you can donate money and find ways and places to volunteer for the cause.
World Wildlife Fund gifts.worldwildlife.org/gift-c… symbolically adopt a cheetah. Proceeds go to help support wildlife conservation efforts around the world.
see support.worldwildlife.org/site… for more ways to help the WWF.
Cheetah Outreach www.cheetah.co.za/ this education program centered around the cheetah accepts donations and adoptions/support of individual living cheetahs.
Wildlife Conservation Society, Cheetah page- www.wcs.org/saving-wildlife/bi…
Arkive.org, Cheetah facts - www.arkive.org/cheetah/acinony…
Wikipedia, Cheetah Info - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheetah
Wikipedia, Asiatic Cheetah Info – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asiatic_…
World Wildlife Fund - www.worldwildlife.org/
PBS Nature, Cheetah Documentaries for sale www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/catego…
Cheetah Documentaries on YouTube – BBC Natural World’s “Cheetahs Fast Track to Freedom” www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hpzfv… & “Cheetahs: Against All Odds” www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfdWUq…
Cheetah.org, Info on International Cheetah Day www.cheetah.org/?nd=internatio…
The DA ICD Challenge- bcbdrums.deviantart.com/journa…
& a special thank you to for bringing International Cheetah Day & The ICD challenge to the WildLife101Club’s attention, and thanks to & for holding this challenge.
I truly hope that it goes well.
Thank you to everyone who participates and all who have looked at this journal.