International Cheetah Day – December 4 by Alison Lee Rubie - Part 2
Cheetahs are excellent hunters. Their eyesight is strong and they can spot prey up to five kilometres away from a mound or other vantage point. Stalking their prey until the right moment to make the chase, cheetahs will use their speed to catch and then their claws to ultimately drag the prey to the ground before biting its throat or nuzzle to suffocate it and finish it off. Though cheetahs are strong hunters, they compete with lions and hyenas that are threats to the cheetah and will often scare the cheetah away from its kill to finish off their meal. This can lead to starvation and often cheetahs will go days without food. Cheetahs only eat animals they have killed themselves. (Chinery p 294).
Cheetahs have long been held in captivity dating back to Ancient Egyptians and Assyrians who kept tame cheetahs. These animals would be used for hunting. People in power such as emperors or kings in India were known to keep thousands of cheetahs during the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries. As cheetahs do not breed successfully in captivity, most of these cheetahs were caught in the wild and trained to hunt.
Cheetahs are now a protected species listed under Appendix I of Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). (IUCN Red List) They are protected under national legislations throughout their existing range and parts of their previous range. Unfortunately though, some countries still allow cheetahs to be killed if they are threatening livestock or endangering life.
So what can you do to help? The best way to help is to spread awareness about their plight. The more people that know the more people can help. Share this blog post on your Facebook, talk about International Cheetah Day and The Feline Foundation and their causes. Sign petitions and encourage your friends to do so as well. It’s all about being proactive. Together we can change the world.