Acinonyx – Cheetah

Racing to extinction: historically ranging throughout Africa to India, now distributed in small, fragmented populations

Golden yellowish-tan coats with recognizable black dots, built-in anti-glare tear marks, tiny heads, lean bodies, and long legs are characteristics of graceful Cheetahs.

Cheetahs are descended from the same ancestor as Puma and Jaguarundi, denoting that cheetahs were not historically restricted to the Asian and African continents.

The wild cheetahs of North America and Europe were wiped out by an extinction catastrophe near the end of the last ice age, leaving only Asian and African populations.

Data reflects a substantial shrinkage in their historic range. Today, there are just about 7,000 wild African and <50 Asian cheetahs surviving. The imprisonment of key conservationists dims hopes for the population's recovery of Asiatic cheetahs.