An orphaned Asiatic cheetah cub has been under 24-hour surveillance in its natural habitat by local Iranian rangers ever since its mother died tragically in a car accident on the weekend.
Over the weekend, the corpse of a female cheetah was found on the side of the Tehran-Mashhad road, in the Abbasabad region. Rangers soon identified the cheetah as the mother of a young cub, and have been following the orphaned animal to ensure its safety.
“We can bring him in if need be, but we prefer to let him grow in the wild,” Houman Jokar, head of the National Asiatic Cheetah Conservation Program, told ISNA. “We’re trying to make sure the animal puts as much distance between itself and the road as possible. There’s a chance it might go back to where its mother died, so we have to be vigilant.”a Neybandan Wildlife Refuge in Yazd Province, Miandasht Wildlife Refuge in North Khorasan Province and Touran Wildlife Refuge in Semnan Province are the only facilities in Iran equipped to take care of orphaned cheetahs.
The surveillance will end when the animal is old enough to fend for itself. “That’s when we can relax.”
According to the Department of Environment, more than 60% of all cheetah deaths in the past nine years have been caused by road accidents on the Tehran-Mashhad route, but evidently the figure is not high enough to merit effective action!
Had the female cheetah lived and not perished in the accident, she could have mothered more cubs and become the matriarch of two to three more families, according to the news agency.
About 50 Asiatic cheetahs remain in Iran, the only habitat of the critically endangered species. In other words, every death means the animal’s population drops by 2%.
Tehran’s Pardisan Zoo is cooperating with renowned breeding specialist Sean McKewon, who recently led an effort to breed African cheetahs in the UAE, to breed the critically endangered species.
By Financial Tribune