Panthera’s Cheetah Program seeks to secure vast tracts of land, safe passage, and an abundance of prey for Africa’s most threatened big cat.
Ensuring a future for the cheetah must allow the species to roam over vast areas to capture prey, making cheetah conservation at the landscape-scale critical for the species’ survival. Panthera’s approach to protecting cheetahs has a dual focus: developing a program that can eventually be expanded across the cheetah’s African range and conserving the small remaining population of Asiatic cheetahs in Iran.
In both areas, Panthera is working to collect critical ecological data about cheetahs, monitor populations, enhance law enforcement efforts to protect cheetahs and their prey, and identify and address other critical threats.
Cheetahs exist in 24 countries across Africa and Asia. With our greatest efforts currently focused in Zambia and Iran, Panthera is also working to develop a conservation program across the cheetah’s African range.
Cheetah Range States: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Iran, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
See cheetah range map
The State of the Cheetah
There are estimated to be only 7,100 cheetahs left in the wild, and their future remains uncertain across their range. Extinct in 25 countries and possibly extinct in a further 13 countries, cheetahs have vanished from approximately 91 percent of their historic range. They are extinct in Asia apart from a single, isolated population of perhaps 50 individuals in central Iran.
Cheetahs are listed as "Vulnerable" by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, but after a recent study revealed significant population declines, scientists are calling for cheetahs to be uplisted to "Endangered." In North Africa and Asia, they are considered "Critically Endangered."
The species is threatened by conflict with local people, the illegal wildlife trade, legal sport hunting, and loss of prey due to overhunting by people and agricultural land developments.
"We’ve just hit the reset button in our understanding of how close cheetahs are to extinction. The take-away is that securing protected areas alone is not enough. We must think bigger, conserving across the mosaic of protected and unprotected landscapes that these far-ranging cats inhabit, if we are to avert the otherwise certain loss of the cheetah forever," - Dr. Kim Young-Overton, Transboundary Program Director KAZA TFCA.
The cheetah's flexibility in different habitats, its considerable reproductive capacity and its ability to live alongside us is of little use unless humans decide to give it a chance. Like all large carnivores in Africa and indeed, around the world, the future of the cheetah is truly in our hands.