How Many Cheetahs Remain In the Wild?
Cheetah conservationists would give a great deal to have Akbar's 9,000 cheetahs back today. Conservationists estimate that around the year 1900, hundreds of thousands of cheetahs lived throughout most of Africa, western Asia, and India. That is no longer the case. The cheetah disappeared from India in the 1940's, and by the 1970's, fewer than 200 survived in Iran, probably the cat's last Asian stronghold. Today, only scattered pockets of cheetahs remain, chiefly in southern and eastern Africa and in the semiarid Sahel region south of the Sahara. Estimates of cheetah numbers are imprecise, because cheetahs, like nearly all wild cats, are shy, stealthy, solitary, and therefore difficult to count. Estimates of the current African cheetah population range from a low of 5,000 to highs of 15,000 to 25,000. Another 1,000 cheetahs live in captivity around the world, some 300 of them in North America.