The birth of rare Asian cheetah cubs | Sunday Observer

The birth of rare Asian cheetah cubs

12 June, 2022

The birth of three rare Asiatic cheetah cubs in Iran is being hailed as a victory by conservationists worldwide. The May 1, 2022, announcement by Ali Salajegheh, Head of Iran's Department of Environment (DOE), marks the first time the critically-endangered cheetah subspecies has reproduced in captivity.

The three male cubs were born at the Touran Wildlife Refuge in the Semnan province, east of Tehran. The newborns and their mother were instantly whisked away to the intensive care unit for monitoring. One cub died but the other two have been steadily gaining weight since birth and appear healthy thus far.

Asiatic cheetahs are believed to have split from the African cheetah between 32,000 and 67,000 years ago.

They are paler in colour and have thicker coats and slender legs. The animals feed on medium-sized herbivores, such as Indian gazelles, wild sheep, and goats. Like their African cousins, Asiatic cheetahs can reach sprinting speeds of up to 128 kilometres 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 has been decimated due to poaching, loss of habitat, and decreased prey.