Scientists Urge Endangered Listing for Cheetahs: National Geographic–supported research exposes the dire state of cheetahs in southern Africa

A comprehensive assessment of cheetah populations in southern Africa supported by the National Geographic Society reveals the dire state of one of the planet’s most iconic big cats. In a study published today in the open-access journal PeerJ, researchers present evidence that low cheetah population estimates in southern Africa and population decline support a call to list the cheetah as “Endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

With partial support from the National Geographic Society’s Big Cats Initiative, an international team of 17 researchers, led by Florian Weise of the Claws Conservancy and Varsha Vijay of Duke University, analyzed more than two million collared cheetah observations from a long-term study by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research and another 20,000 cheetah observations from the research community and the general public. Their findings show that free-ranging cheetahs were present across approximately 789,700 square kilometers in Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe between 2010 and 2016.

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