18 Apr

Friedman Conservation Grants Program for Wild Cheetahs Launched


In partnership with Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies, Panthera is excited to announce the launch of a grants program dedicated solely to the conservation of the wild African cheetah – the Friedman Cheetah Conservation Grants Program.

Recently unveiled, the Friedman program awards one-year grants of up to $15,000 to support conservation and research projects on wild cheetahs across the species’ range in Africa. Seeking out the best and brightest cheetah conservationists in the field, as well as the most promising and innovative projects, this program aims to increase and connect healthy cheetah populations across the African continent and build the scientific capacity and expertise of the next generation of cheetah conservationists.

Taking a long term, range-wide view of cheetah conservation, the Friedman Grants Program focuses on conservation and research initiatives that survey the cheetah’s range where little data exists, including Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, South Sudan, Zambia, West Africa and North Africa; identify critical connections between viable cheetah populations; and apply interventions that mitigate threats to cheetahs.

Today, the threats facing the species are numerous. Primarily living outside of protected game reserves, cheetahs are often killed by humans over the loss of livestock, especially when natural prey has been depleted due to overhunting by people. The cheetah is also literally losing ground to Africa’s burgeoning human population, which is converting extensive swaths of natural savannas to community, agriculture and livestock landscapes. A prime target of the illegal wildlife trade, cheetahs are additionally hunted for their furs and their cubs, which are sold as pets to buyers primarily in the Middle East.

Together, these threats have taken a drastic toll on the populations of cheetahs remaining in Africa. Once reaching nearly 100,000 individuals a century ago, just 7,500-10,000 cheetahs are estimated to remain in Africa today, with an isolated population of no more than 70 Asiatic cheetahs left in Iran. Extirpated from 76% of its historic range in Africa, the species is listed as “Vulnerable” across its range on the International Union of the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, and as “Critically Endangered” in North Africa and Asia.

Click the map below to view the cheetah’s current range in Africa and Asia.

While formidable, these threats can be mitigated by the Friedman Cheetah Conservation Grants Program. The Friedman Grants Program will not only create a long-term, range-wide strategy for cheetahs throughout the continent, it will also foster dialogue among existing cheetah projects and conservationists across Africa and cultivate these conservationists to become leaders within their own countries – allowing for local communities and individuals to protect their wildlife and ensure that the cheetah lives and thrives in Africa for centuries to come.

Learn more about the Friedman Cheetah Conservation Grants Program* and Panthera’s other grants and prizes.

Learn about Panthera’s cheetah conservation work in Asia through the Iranian Cheetah Project.

*This year’s Friedman Grants round is by application only. Starting in 2015, the cycle will begin with an open request for Letters of Interest (January 1-February 1), followed by invitations for full applications.

More on Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies

Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies supports innovative programs that change the world, with four priorities: saving the cheetah from extinction, improving pediatric asthma care, ensuring the continuity of the Jewish community in the Washington, D.C. region, and improving education outcomes for District of Columbia public school students.

Learn more about Emanuel J. Friedman Philanthropies.