Iran is home
to the last known population of Asiatic cheetah which once roamed across vast
ranges of west and south Asian countries. However, despite enforced protection
efforts in recent years, no reliable information was available about the
subspecies population in the country which made assessment of conservation
measures impossible.

a comprehensive monitoring program was initiated by the Iranian Cheetah Society
(ICS) in partnership with Iran’s Department of Environment, Conservation of
Asiatic Cheetah Project and Panthera to understand demographic characteristics
of the cheetahs in Iran between 2011 and 2013. As a result, a population of 40
to 70 individuals is now concluded for the entire country, fewer than what was
already thought, i.e. 70 to 100.

Camera traps
are reliable tools which are applicable for investigating population of elusive
marked cats, such as the cheetahs. However, this technology has been rarely
applied to the species due to its elusive nature and low density. In Iran, due
to political sanctions, necessary equipment are not easily accessible which
prevented a thorough status assessment before due to lack of proper number of
camera traps. Thanks to various donors and partners, the monitoring program was
initiated recently to fill the gap in knowledge which is essential for improving
protection. Accordingly, almost 10 reserves within Iran were covered by means
of infra-red camera traps to yield a reliable estimation of the cheetah

since no basic figure is available about the cheetah population for previous
years, it is difficult to judge about population trends of the Asiatic cheetahs
in Iran. Meanwhile, based on sporadic data available from previous years, it
seems that the cheetah population has a decreasing status in recent years,
indicting its most critically endangered status ever. Therefore, a comprehensive
program is needed to protect the Asiatic cheetahs in the country. As part of
its Cheetah Program, the ICS has a broad range of activities to halt the
decrease, including training and equipping game guards, stopping overgrazing
within reserves, community-based programs, application of genetic methods to
understand population composition, etc. It is highly recommended to involved
conservation agencies to revise existing protection efforts in Iran in order to
safeguard cheetah survival in the country.

CT Nay Asiatic cheetah.jpg

Camera traps help scientists to investigate elusive
species, such as Asiatic cheetahs.