Rare Asian cheetah cubs born in captivity in Iran

Asian cheetahs are critically endangered (Credit: N. Farid/ CC-BY-SA-2.0/ Creative Commons)

Birth of three rare Asiatic cheetah cubs in Iran underway greeted like a victory by ecologists worldwide. The May 1, 2022 announcement by Ali Salajegheh, head of Iran’s Department of Environment (DOE), marks the first time that theendangered cheetah subspecies bred in captivity.

The adorable male cubs were born at Touran wildlife sanctuary in Semnan province, east of Tehran. The newborns and their mother were immediately taken to the intensive care unit for surveillance. One cub died on May 4, 2022, but the other two are steadily gaining ballast since birth and seem healthy so far.

The three Asiatic cheetah cubs are the first to be born in captivity. (Iranian Department of Environment)

The mother cheetah, named Iran, was rescued from wildlife smugglers in December 2017 when she was eight months old. She was introduced to the cubs’ father – Firouz, a male Asiatic cheetah captured in a local national park – in 2021.

Asian cheetahs are thought to have divide of the African cheetah between 32,000 and 67,000 years ago. They are paler in color and have a thicker coat and thin legs. Animals feed on medium size herbivores, such as Indian gazelles, wild sheep and goats. Like their African cousins, Asian cheetahs can reach sprinting speeds of up to 128 kilometers per hour (80 mph) to catch their prey.

The animals once roamed freely across Central Asia, from the Middle East to Russia. However, their population was decimated due to poachingloss of habitat, and decreased prey. The Iranian Cheetah Society estimates that there are currently only 12 Asian cheetahs left in the wild. All are in Iran.

Resources:: CNN.com, doe.ir, zeiger.news

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