Recently, news has been published by various media that there are only 12 Asiatic cheetahs left in Iran. This number, quoting the deputy director of the Department of Environment, although correct, has explanations that are not mentioned in this news.
This number only applies to cheetahs that meet ALL of the following criteria:
- They are wild Cheetahs (3 Captive Asiatic Cheetahs are not counted).
- They are fully identified and have a certified identity card.
- They had identifiable and documented images that show that they are alive during 2020 and 2021.
- They are independent of the mother and can participate in reproduction as a member of an independent population.
From a scientific point of view, cubs are not counted as part of the population as long as they are not successfully separated from the mother. Therefore, the 4 newborn cubs recorded by our cameras in 2021, 3 other cubs that separated from their mother in early 2021, and Cheetahs observed in North Khorasan are also not added to this number as they still don’t have identifiable and independent images.
It should also be noted that the above statistics are in fact “the minimum adult population identified” and do not in any way mean the exact size of the population. Carnivores are not easily seen, it is never possible to give an exact size of their population.
Iranian Cheetah Society is monitoring the Asiatic Cheetahs population for more than 10 years now.