Q:

Are cheetahs at risk of going extinct?

A:

Quick Answer

As of 2015, cheetahs as a whole are considered vulnerable to extinction, but they are not endangered. However, certain subspecies are considered endangered or even critically endangered, as is the case with the Asiatic cheetah.

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Full Answer

Cheetah populations in the wild are decreasing. The species as a whole is not considered at immediate risk yet, but two small splinter groups of cheetahs, the Northwest African cheetah and the Asiatic, are both considered endangered. The Asiatic subspecies was once distributed across Central Asia, but it is now found only in Iran. The Iranian group is made up of about 200 individuals.

Even cheetahs belonging to larger populations suffer from genetic defects due to inbreeding. These genetic infirmities, combined with human hunting and disruption of cheetah habitat, combine to make cheetahs vulnerable to extinction.

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