Cheetah are now extinct in 25 countries which it formerly occupied, and are possibly
extinct in another 13 countries that used to be part of their historic range. Cheetahs have been classified as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and are a specially protected species within Zimbabwe. Cheetah Conservation
Project Zimbabwe assists with the conservation of cheetahs through applied research, education, collaboration and capacity building. With our research we try to address questions that can help us to improve the conservation strategy of this beautiful species.
Cheetahs once occurred throughout Zimbabwe, with estimates of the population ranging from 400 to 1,500 cheetahs. Unfortunately there is no up to date population estimate available, which is why Cheetah Conservation Project Zimbabwe is currently carrying out a nationwide population survey. The results out of this survey will be available towards the end of this year. However, preliminary results show cheetahs predominantly occur in wildlife protected areas in the northwest and southeast of Zimbabwe. Main threats to cheetah survival seem to be loss of habitat and prey and a lack of connectivity between wildlife protected areas. Within Zimbabwe the cheetah is listed as a specially protected animal under the Parks and Wildlife Act, meaning that no person shall hunt cheetah, keep, have in his possession, sell or otherwise dispose of any live cheetah or the meat or trophy of it, unless a permit has been issued by the Authority with the concurrence of the Minister.
Cheetahs used to be widespread across Africa and Asia. Today they have vanished from over 80 % of their historic range in Africa and are extinct in their entire Asian range except for a single, small, isolated population in the remote central plateau of Iran. The majority of the cheetahs (63%) are found in Southern Africa, in a population that is shared between Botswana, Namibia, South-Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Main threats to the survival of cheetah are loss of habitat and prey, a lack of connectivity between areas inhabited by cheetahs, human persecution and the illegal trade in cheetah cubs. With ± 6,700 adult and adolescent cheetahs left in the wild in their entire range, the species has been classified as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, meaning they are one step away from being endangered. To protect cheetahs from illegal trade, they are listed on appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
© Jean-Michel Blake