Losing the Cheetah

The legendary speed of the cheetah has not been enough to outrun the forces working against its survival. In just the past twenty-five years, the cheetah population has declined from approximately 30,000 animals to the current 12,000, with an estimated extinction date of 2015. How have these fabled animals, prized since Egyptian pharaohs and Asian royalty kept them as pets, become an endangered species? Tragically, several of the forces of extinction have lined up against the cheetah:

Fortunately, other human actions are actually helping; a particularly diverse set of conservation efforts includes the following:

If the goal is to keep this wild species in its natural habitat, all of these efforts and more will have to work to push back the extinction deadline of 2015.


Hawthorne, Peter. 2000. "Cheetahs on the Run," Time, April-May, p.31.

Urbaniak, Joseph. 1998. "Cheetah Conservation in Southern Africa." http://www.american.edu/projects/mandala/TED/cheetah.htm

Wilson, E. O. 2000. "Vanishing Before Our Eyes," Time, April-May, pp. 29-30.