The world’s fastest land mammal is racing against extinction. A century ago, 100,000 cheetahs roamed the earth. Today, on International Cheetah Day, fewer than 8,000 remain. Here are 10 reasons why Africa’s most endangered cat needs our compassion now, and how you can help.
- As the fastest land animal, cheetahs can reach highway speeds in just a few strides. They top out at about 70 mph. Mind blown.
- They’re the only cats with black “tear marks” that run from the corner of their eyes and down to their mouth. These marks are believed to act as sun protection to aid in hunting, like “eye black” for athletes.
- Because cheetahs nail the catwalk like the feline models they are. Their slender frame, long legs, flexible spine, and long, muscular tail all help this cat reach extreme speeds like no other animal, as well as helping them move gracefully.
- Cheetah siblings Bonde and Kilima prove every day that you can actually love your brother or sister. (We jest!) These two thrive together; they’re often spotted in a full-on groom session, cleaning one another from head to paw.
- Dogs are saving wild cheetahs: The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in Namibia is protecting cheetahs from being killed by farmers for eating livestock. Because more than 90% of cheetahs live outside protected management areas, they end up living alongside human communities. CCF has bred and trained more than 500 Anatolian shepherds and Kangal dogs to donate to local farmers to guard their livestock. CCF’s Livestock Guarding Dog Program has reduced livestock loss from predators by over 80 percent, which equals keeping cheetahs alive. You rock, CCF.
- Because these two goofballs melt hearts across the world. Our Winspear and Amani were brought together as babies to help teach the public about the plight of the cheetah. Amani helps Winspear feel calm and safe in public settings, since cheetahs are naturally shy animals.
- Cheetahs win at taking selfies (and dog companions win at photobombing them).
- Baby cheetahs are born with the most epic Mohawk on their backs. In the wild, it protects the babies by camouflaging them to look like a cutthroat carnivore called a honey badger.
- Because wild cheetahs and humans are slowly but surely learning to co-exist. With CCF leading on-the-ground educational efforts in Africa, natives’ attitudes towards cheetahs are changing.
- Cheetah orphans in Namibia need sponsors and you can help.
The Dallas Zoo is proud to support the Cheetah Conservation Fund, founded by Dr. Laurie Marker in Namibia in 1990. She’s the world’s leading cheetah expert and conservationist, and it all started a few decades ago when she asked, “Why don’t we know anything about cheetahs?”
CCF spearheads this day to teach about the fight Africa’s most endangered cat faces. Please consider making a donation today to help cheetahs make a comeback.