Asiatic cheetahs are globally “Critically Endangered” according to the IUCN Red List. Iran is home to the last population of the Asiatic cheetah in the world. With a presumed population of 50 cheetah individuals at best, challenges associated with the current status of the Asiatic cheetah population include incidental killing of cheetahs by people or livestock guarding dogs, habitat fragmentation and loss of biological corridors and prey base depletion. Twelve years ago, the Iranian Cheetah Society (ICS) proposed August 31st as the “National Cheetah Day” in Iran to encourage conservation of the last remaining population of Asiatic cheetahs. The National Cheetah Day is now endorsed and celebrated by Iran Department of the Environment, Conservation of the Asiatic Cheetah Project and several Iranian NGOs every year. In honor of the Cheetah National Day, ICS releases “Save Our Cheetah” – a short video by Majid Sarhaddi, an Iranian filmmaker and friend of ICS.
This year ICS scientists joined a campaign to raise awareness of the critical status of the Asiatic cheetah in the Iranian public media. In a series of articles published in Etemaad, a leading Farsi-language daily newspaper, ICS scientists discuss the challenges and potential solutions to recover the Asiatic cheetah population. Recently, Iran Department of the Environment declared that, together with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), it is working on the draft of the third phase of the Conservation of the Asiatic Cheetah Project considering the measures proposed by national and international collaborators.