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Widely known as the planet’s fastest land animal, the Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is also the least dangerous big cat. Today, there are estimated to be only 7,100 cheetahs left in the wild – and their future remains uncertain.

IUCN Red List Status
Least concern Near threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically endangered
Status on CITES Appendices
Cheetahs have vanished from approximately 90 percent of their historic range in Africa, and are extinct in Asia except for a single, isolated population of perhaps 50 individuals in central Iran.   79% of all cheetah populations contain 100 or fewer individual


There are estimated to be only 7,100 cheetahs left in the wild, and their future remains uncertain across their range.

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.”

Main threats

Cheetahs are frequently killed by farmers, either preemptively or in retaliation for livestock predation, even though the actual damage they cause to livestock is relatively minor.

Cheetahs are profoundly affected by loss of prey from human hunting and the development of land for agricultural and other  purposes.

Direct hunting in some parts of Africa for skins contributes to cheetah population declines, as does the illegal trade in live cubs and adults, many of which die during transport.

Conservation efforts

Cheetah has been protected under Appendix I of  the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) since 1 July 1975 which means commercial international trade in wild-sourced cheetah is prohibited.

The low density of cheetahs throughout their range means they require conservation action on a scale that is seldom seen in terrestrial conservation. This includes transboundary cooperation, land use planning across large landscapes to maintain habitat connectivity, and human wildlife conflict mitigation. Most cheetah range (76%) is on unprotected lands where they are often persecuted in retaliation for livestock or game depredation.

In Africa, nearly all range states are actively involved with the Range Wide Conservation Program for Cheetah and African Wild Dogs (RWCP). As well as providing a regional framework, these strategies also provide a framework for national conservation action planning.

There are also a number of different projects established across southern and eastern Africa that are either dedicated specifically to the conservation and research of cheetah, or to the guild of large carnivores. Many of these projects carry out important site-based conservation activities that benefit cheetah, and some also provide support for capacity development of national wildlife authorities. 

In Iran, the Asiatic cheetah is completely protected. The main protected areas for this species are Kavir National Park, Khar Touran National Park, Naybandan Wildlife Refuge, Bafgh Protected Area and Dar Anjir Wildlife Refuge.

The IUCN SSC Cat Specialist Group maintains a Cheetah Conservation Compendium with a reference library and detailed country information ( which provides a useful resource for publications relating to all aspects of Cheetah ecology and conservation.