The cheetah is an endangered species

Taxonomy[ edit ] The Indian cheetah was proposed as a subspecies by British zoologist Edward Griffith in Hilzheimer's type specimen originated in MervTurkmenistan. Samples of 94 cheetahs for extracting mitochondrial DNA were collected in nine countries from wild, seized and captive individuals and from museum specimen.

The cheetah is an endangered species

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Introduction to species Cheetahs are classified in the family Felidae, subfamily Acinonychinae as The cheetah is an endangered species genus Acynonyx, and species jubatus.

The genus contains a single living species. Cheetahs, one of the bigger free-living cats but at the bottom of the pecking order, are unique animals under threat of extinction because of the increasing loss of their habitat and access to prey species.

They generally appear to have a very limited genetic pool and this genetic uniformity is believed to be the result of at least two population bottlenecks followed by natural inbreeding.

The first and most extreme bottleneck possibly occurred in the late Pleistocene circa 10, years agowhile the second was more recent within the last century and led to the development of the current South African populations. Compared to other mammalian species including felids, cheetahs have low levels of MHC major histocompatibility complex proteins diversity, but this phenomenon does not seem to influence its immunocompetence and resistance to diseases of free-ranging cheetahs.

Additionally, carnivores in general exhibit significantly lower levels of genetic variation than other mammals do, and several carnivore species for which data are available, exhibit lower levels of heterozygosity and polymorphism than cheetahs do.

There is speculation though that this limited genetic variation may be responsible for the perceived vulnerability of cheetahs in captivity and in the wild. There is a belief that cheetahs, as a consequence of their restricted genetic diversity, tend easily to develop clinical signs of inbreeding depression.

These are characterised by high neonatal mortality rates that are partially attributed to their perceived increased susceptibility to infections, the difficulty of breeding them in captivity, and the high frequency of spermatozoal defects in captive, and free-ranging cheetah males.

Many of the phenotypic effects that can be attributed to inbreeding depression, such as infertility, reduced litter sizes, and increased susceptibility to disease are, however, normally limited to captive individuals and this phenomenon may be explained as being physiological or behavioural artefacts of captivity, often as a result of inadequate diets and exposure to stress.

Usually, however, the survival of cubs in the wild too is poor and there is an expected high attrition rate because of a number of factors, predation being one of the more important ones. Cheetahs, as a consequence of this perceived inbreeding, also developed metabolic patterns that are substantially different from those of other cats.

These variations provide major challenges when attempting to compile balanced diets for cheetahs in captivity as their needs differ substantially from those of the other cats. Nutritional deficiencies and imbalances because of inadequate diets in captivity result in increased neonatal mortalities, poor breeding performance, and various fatal conditions in adult animals.

The current contention is that the genetic constitution of cheetahs does not compromise its survival in the wild and plays a limited role in the poor performance of cheetahs in captivity.

Currently the genetic diversity of a metapopulation managed across small reserves is more diverse than that of the free-living population. It is thus important to have genetic information of groups of cheetahs available to allow population management of this threatened species in conservation areas and in small game farms to sustain as much of the genetic variation as is possible.

The extent and geographic patterns of molecular genetic diversity of the largest remaining free-ranging cheetah populations reflect limited differentiation among regions and a generally panmictic population panmixia or panmixis means random mating.

Where the genetic diversity has been assessed, measures of genetic variation are similar in cheetahs in all regions of Namibia and they are comparable to Eastern African cheetah populations.

In the small and fragmented South African populations, genetic analyses indicate that cheetahs on reserves would not benefit from cross-breeding with the free-roamers but that the free-roamers would benefit. As the reserve population approaches its overall capacity, mating suppression will be required to avoid selling wild cheetah into captivity.

Physical characteristics Male and female Cheetahs are tall and slender animals, with their bodies high off the ground and with long thin legs.

Their long tails that may have circular black markings, are distinctive. They have relatively small rounded heads, short muzzles and round ears, and a distinctive black stripe tear mark from the inner aspects of the eyes to the corner of their mouths.

Males are larger than females with an average weight of 54 kg in males and 43 kg in females. Their total length including the tail varies between cm and cm in males and females, respectively. Their coat is rough and contains numerous round to oval black spots. The background colour is buffy-white but it varies in intensity according to the region and habitat in which they occur.

In desert areas, their colour may be quite pale causing them to blend into the colour of the desert sand. Cheetah cubs are distinctly different in appearance from the adults. They are less distinctly spotted, and have a rug of long lighter hair on the back, sometimes said, to mimic the coat pattern of honey badgers Mellivora capensis who are known to be very aggressive animals.

Cryptic animals are often otherwise palatable to their predators so would never survive if obvious. The cheetah is an atypical and the most cursorial having limbs adapted for running felid.

Endangered Species of Our Planet

Generally, to maximize its speed, an animal must rapidly swing its limbs to increase stride frequency and support its body weight by resisting large ground reaction forces.

As a predator, the cheetah also uses its forelimbs for prey capture and they must therefore also be adapted for this function. Its claws are somewhat dog-like both in shape and the diminished degree of retraction that is intermediate between that of other felids and of wolves.

They are well known, with the exception of the dew claw the first digit which is also retractilefor having blunt, only slightly curved, partly retractile claws, considered to be an adaptation for high-speed locomotion.

The reduced manipulative capabilities of the forelimb associated with the evolution of cursorial adaptations seem to have limited the roles of the forepaws in both subduing its prey and feeding. Cheetahs lack the strength of other felids and they are unable to fight their prey to the ground.

Instead they must trip or pull them off balance by hooking the rump of its prey and pulling them off balance with their dew claw while running at high speeds.

Cheetahs make various sounds depending on the situation in which they find themselves. When challenged they make a sudden spitting sound reflecting aggression.

Normally they communicate with chirping sounds used to locate cubs and members of coalitions.Endangered species are those considered to be at risk of extinction, meaning that there are so few left of their kind that they could disappear from the planet altogether.

An endangered species is a species which has been categorized as very likely to become regardbouddhiste.comered (EN), as categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, is the second most severe conservation status for wild populations in the IUCN's schema after Critically Endangered (CR)..

In , the IUCN Red List featured animal and plant species . About EEC. Earth's Endangered Creatures lists endangered plants and animals of the world that are threatened with extinction.

It is split into 11 parts--seven of which are the seven continents of our planet and also an Oceanic, Middle East, and Central America category. CITES is an international agreement between governments, aimed to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

A list of some of the most endangered species, with numbers of their remaining populations, population trends, threats to their survival in the wild and other statistics and information. The Asiatic cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus), also known as Iranian cheetah, is a Critically Endangered cheetah subspecies surviving today only in Iran.

The cheetah is an endangered species

It once occurred from the Arabian Peninsula and the Near East [3] to the Kyzylkum Desert, Caspian region, Pakistan and India, but has been extirpated there during the 20th century.

Cheetah Outreach - South Africa