Wild Cheetah May Disappear by 2030

Numbers are plunging as natural habitat shrinks

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 24, 2013 7:16 PM CDT

(Newser) – The number of cheetahs in the wild has been dropping so quickly that wildlife experts think the animal could disappear by 2030, reports AFP. They estimate that maybe 10,000 of the big cats exist, mostly in Africa, down from 100,000 about a century ago. The problem is that while the animals' natural habitat is shrinking, the animals generally don't do well in wildlife preserves. They need more far more open space because, fast as they may be, they can't compete against bigger animals such as lions and leopards.

To make matters worse, the cheetah is suffering from widespread inbreeding as its world shrinks. One sliver of hope, according to AFP, is that the animals are easily tamed and thus can be raised in captivity. The big question is whether cheetahs born in captivity can survive once released in the wild, and early experiments haven't been encouraging. Click for more.

File photo of a male cheetah.
File photo of a male cheetah.   (AP Photo/Nevada Appeal, Kevin Clifford)
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