“National Geographic magazine published extraordinary new images of wild Asiatic cheetahs in Iran in November 2012. Unlike to African cheetahs, Iranian cats are virtually invisible. Intensely shy, scattered like grains of sand over Iran’s vast central plateau, and hovering on the edge of extinction, they are essentially impossible to see. However, SLR camera traps deployed by Nat Geo photographer Frans Lanting in places where are monitored by Iranian biologists have resulted in high quality images of the species from remote and arid environments in the Iranian deserts. It was a partnership between Nat Geo, Iran DoE’ CACP, PWF and Panthera.
Nat Geo article is an important event to raise awareness about the cheetahs in Iran as well as abroad. Formerly, the animals were not enough known among local people, so they were regularly killed because of unawareness and fear among people who supposed the animal as an enemy to themselves and/or their ownership. Presently, word of the cheetah has been spread among people in majority of the country, resulting less human-caused mortality due to above-mentioned reason. However, the cheetahs roam across large intact landscapes which remind us that still we need to promote the knowledge among communities. We are currently taping a new documentary of the Asiatic Cheetah so people can learn more about its gloomy status. Recently, the Iranian Cheetah Society (ICS) has established a page in youtubeto share latest films we caught using camera traps from the cheetahs in Iran.
Asiatic cheetahs are one of the rarest mammals in the world, ranked the second more endangered cats in the world, chasing the Amur leopard. Desert and arid lands of eastern half of Iran hosts these elusive animals which despite of some 10 years ago, today are considered as one of the most intensively studied species in Iran. However, everybody should think about bringing research in balance with action.