Also known as Iranian or Persiancheetah, this animal is a critically endangered subspecies found only in Iran. Once this carnivore roamed from the Arabian Peninsula and the Near East to the Caspian region,Kyzylkum desert,Pakistanand India, but it has been extirpated there during the 20th century.
As of December 2017, fewer than 50 individuals are thought to be remaining in three subpopulations that are scattered over 140,000 square km in Iran’s central plateau.
The cats have been nearly wiped out by excessive hunting, habitat degradation and scarcity of prey species.
The Asiatic cheetah diverged from the cheetah population in Africa between 32,000 and 67,000 years ago. During the British colonial times in India, it was called hunting leopard, a name derived from the ones that were kept in captivity in large numbers by Indian royalty to use for hunting wild antelopes. Although now found in Africa, the cheetah is believed to have originated in the Americas. The slender big cat started its migration into Asia about 100,000 years ago via the Beringian land bridge. The cats then moved into Africa.
Recently recovered artifacts have led to claims that cheetahs were fi rst tamed in Persia (Iran) 4,500 years ago, instead of the commonly held belief that they were fi rst tamed in Egypt.
Each cheetah has its own unique spot pattern just like the fi ngerprints in human being. The black tear lines on either side of the cheetah’s nose function like black paint, keeping the sun out of the big cats eyes when they hunt. When they run, the claws don’t retract, instead they help the cheetah to reach its top speeds. Their tail helps the animal steer like a rudder does in a boat.
During hunting or fast chase, a cheetah produces 60 times the heat it produces during resting.
That is why it takes a lot of time to settle down after killing its animal. However, during this time some other predator is likely to take the prey from cheetah.
Download The Economic Times News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.