The True Big Cats

When thinking of big cats, most people’s first thoughts include lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars and cheetahs. This is not necessarily the case. There is not a definite way to distinguish which cats are included in this list. From my own personal readings I would say that the best distinguishing factor would be that the true big cats are actually the cats that are in the subfamily Pantherinae and possess the hyoid bone apparatus connected with an elastic segment (i.e.the cats that can roar). These characteristics are found among the lions, tigers, jaguars and leopards. This grouping does not include the cheetah, snow leopard or the rest of the felinae species. Cheetahs are unable to roar; however, they are able to purr, make a type of chirping sound, growling and snarling (https://luzbelle91.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/endangerment-of-the-cheetah/). Snow leopards on the other hand have all of the necessary qualities yet for some reason, they either can’t or won’t. Another thought to consider is the size of the cats, personally I would include the clouded leopard in the ranking of the big cats; although their size to the other big cats is smaller in comparison.

Many people get confused when it concerns big cats, hopefully one day scientists will be able to more definitely distinguish which species are included.

Reintroduction of the Cheetah into India~ The Issue

Cheetahs being reintroduced into India is a serious issue that should not be considered lightly. It is necessary to understand the matter and the factors that take part within that concern. It is also incredibly important to use reliable sources for your information. Sites such as wikipedia are not reliable; instead try to use scientific journal articles, .edu sites and even .org sites before you rely upon .com websites. Another thought to consider is the resources used, if the article or blog does not list any sources it may not be credible.

The link . . .

Cheetahs in India? 

is a video created by my friend Eli and I about the issue of the cheetahs being reintoduced into India. To learn more about the issue you can read more posts on my blog or read further on Eli’s blog (http://cheetahsinindia.wordpress.com/).

Endangered Species in India to be Considered

So, when reading through most articles and blogs, I noticed most authors talk about the entire subject but fail to actually dig into the information that should be presented so the readers may create their own perspective. It is my plan to post a few blogs on various subjects (Indian endangered species, threats/conservation efforts, habitats and the communities/government) and how they relate back to the topic of Cheetah Reintroduction into India.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   The IUCN Red List has categories which they use to classify what species are at risk. There are different levels of how close a species is to extinction which include: Extinct, Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, Near Threatened and Least Concern. It wasn’t until 2011 did India create a list of endangered species on the IUCN list. Of the species on this list there was a total of 57 species of various animals considered just for the critically endangered list. This list included 13 species of bird, ten species of mammals, six reptiles, 19 amphibians, five fish, two spiders and one coral species. When moving onto big cats in India, this list includes:

  Snow leopard (Panthera uncia)

  Asiatic lion (Panthera leo ssp. persica)

  Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris ssp. tigris)

  Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa)

  Leopard (Panthera pardus fusca)

  • There is no reliable source to estimate the number of individuals found in the Indian ecosystem; however, the Indian leopard is on the near threatened species list and is on a decreasing trend making it expected to soon be on the vulnerable list.
  •  Geographic range (http://maps.iucnredlist.org/map.html?id=15954)

Caracal ( Caracal caracal)

Lynx ( Lynx lynx)

The cheetah, once a resident found in India no longer calls it their home. Currently, the Indian cheetah is found only in Iran. Considering this small population, the Indian cheetah is not a good subject for the experimental reintroduction of the cheetah into India.

  Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus ssp. venaticus)

  • The only surviving species of Indian cheetah left in the world is found in Iran with a total of roughly 60- 100 individuals currently critically endangered at a stable trend.
  • Geographic range (http://maps.iucnredlist.org/map.html?id=219)

Relating this information back to the reintroduction of the cheetah into India, is it wise to (1) reintroduce a species that has been extinct in India for the past 60 years and (2) if the once native species isn’t going to be reintroduced, is it wise to reintroduce a species that didnt originally come from that area? The cheetah is not an aggressive species; therefore, if the african species is introduced into an unfamilar area what is their likely response?

Resources

http://indiasendangered.com/57-animal-species-critically-endangered-in-india/

http://indiasendangered.com/india-to-have-its-own-red-list-of-endangered-species/

http://www.iucnredlist.org/

http://indiasendangered.com/10-endangered-species-and-where-to-find-them-in-india/

http://www.wpsi-india.org/tiger/tiger_status.php

http://www.wwfindia.org/snow_leopard.cfm

Audience Analysis on Cheetah Reintroduction

For my Technical writing class, my class was assigned to gather information on what people knew of cheetah reintroduction into India and what they wanted to know. The data listed below is the results I will be using to decide what information to present to my readers. . . .

            Based off of this study, I would prefer to be an informer for those that are uninformed about the subject. Things that should be considered when informing others about this subject would be information about other endangered species like the tigers, leopards, and lions, how these carnivores will affect each other and the species they feast upon/interact with. Scientists don’t often take into consideration what the readers want when writing about the plan to reintroduce the cheetah into India and that is where they could do a better job.

         The cheetah species we have today is dwindling from the great numbers that used to roam the earth. Countless people have come together to slow this decline and it has made an impact. Laurie Marker and many others gathered together to make a difference for this species so that they can run with the wind along the grasslands of tomorrow. Now that they are better stabilizing the African cheetah, they are moving to a new project; reintroducing the cheetah back into India. A question many discuss and argue, will it be a positive or negative decision? It is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Rushing into a decision of this magnitude could have an effect on not only the cheetah itself but also, the people, the government, other species and even the landscape. It is based on my knowledge of the subject as well as the species that I hypothesis that the species will need time to adjust to their new environment; with time they will adjust accordingly to their new habitat with the help of the people. The reintroduction of the cheetah into India will help scientists everywhere gain a better understanding of how species respond to introduction or reintroduction into a new habitat. Other big cat species when thought of in their natural habitat has helped bring more awareness and restoration to the ecosystem in which they live; despite being extinct from India for roughly 60 years, the cheetah is the future hope for the fading Indian grasslands (Burke, 2010). It will further inform us of how native species respond to unfamiliar or invasive species, how humans respond to unfamiliar species as well as how the ecosystem is affected. The information gained from this experience could be used for later reintroduction cases.
         It is important for the government to have a detailed understanding on the species, it’s ecosystem as well as how they interact; however, it is also incredibly important to have a knowledge about the citizens, their standpoint on the debate while not excluding the people of the world that care about this dispute. Before rushing into a situation like conservation work it is good to understand the people that will help support the plan. In other words things to consider would be the readers’ positions and knowledge on the subject, their attitudes and any communication preferences. You cannot expect to move forward if you don’t gain a better understanding of those that are interested or are interconnected in a particular subject; it is also possible that if not considered, others could push against you. It is through gaining a better understanding of the audience for big cat conservation and knowledge on what the audience cares about that we hope to move forward in what information should be presented.
         When it came to creating a survey (Appendix 1), things that were considered to gather research included the readers’ positions and responsibilities, their knowledge of the subject, their attitudes towards the subject and writers as well as any communication preference. Once the appropriate questions had been created from what needed to be gathered, the survey was created and spread to different locations such as Facebook, emails, blogs and websites where it could be answered accordingly. It was made a point to include not simply just qualitative data but also quantitative data; this included both open and closed questions. Over the span of roughly three weeks, the questions would be answered.

Appendix 1: Survey Questions
1. What is/are your favorite form(s) of non-online scientific communication, if any?
2. What is/are your favorite form(s) of online scientific communication, if any?
3. When reading about science do you…
4. What do you feel are important aspects of an article?
5. How much do you value big cat conservation?
6. How knowledgeable are you about big cat conservation?
7. How much do you know about the proposed plan to reintroduce cheetahs into India?
8. Do you agree or disagree with the proposed plan to reintroduce cheetahs into India?
9. What are your main concerns, if any, with the proposed plan to reintroduce cheetahs into India?
10. What questions do you have, if any, about the proposed plan to reintroduce cheetahs into India?
11. What do you feel is your role in big cat conservation? Explain
12. What is your ultimate goal for big cat conservation? Explain

       A survey with twelve questions was posted on Facebook, email and websites. There was a total response count of 76; however, not everyone was required to respond to every question, so most of the questions had less than the total 76. There were three types of questions presented: questions one through four asked to check all that apply, question five through eight asked the readers to choose one response and questions nine through twelve asked short answer type questions.

        The first question asked about the audiences’ favored non-online scientific communication which had eight options to choose from. Of all of the choices, Movies and Documentaries (63.2%) as well as Television (59.2%) were picked the most often. The second question asked about online scientific communication. Of the six choices, online news sites (53.3%), social network sites (46.7%) and online scientific articles (46.7%) were chosen the most often. The third question pertained to how much of a scientific article the readers chose to read or found most important. The question presented them the option of choosing as many of the seven answers that they found true. Of all of these choices, the answers chosen most often were skimming the article for the most important information (54.8%) and reading the entire article (53.4%). The fourth question asked the audience to specify what they found to be the most important part of a scientific article. When analyzing the eight options, the answers chosen most often were information and facts (91.8%) as well as supporting evidence (75.3%).

The fifth question, presented in Table 5 below, asked the audience their value of big cat conservation. This question presented them with four options in which they had to choose one answer. The answer chosen the most often by far was that of high value (72.5%). The sixth question (Table 6) asked the readers to specify the level of knowledge they possessed on big cat conservation. This question presented four options and followed by asking them to explain how they gained it. Of the options, basic knowledge (46.5%) was chosen the most often. Despite the fact that there were 71 responses for this question, only 30 chose to further explain how the knowledge was gained. From these responses I found that most of them gained their knowledge through internships/volunteering or schooling. Question seven (Table 7) asked the readers a more focused question in big cat conservation. This question wanted to know how knowledgeable the readers were on the reintroduction of the cheetah into India which presented four choices and later asked them to specify where this knowledge was obtained. Of all the choices, no knowledge (58.8%) was chosen by far the most often. Despite 68 people choosing to answer this question, only 16 explained how they obtained this knowledge. Examining these responses revealed that most of the knowledge was gained from CCF, the cheetah conservation fund in some way whether it is through interning or their website. Question 8 (Table 8) further asked about the audiences position in the discussion of cheetahs being reintroduced into India. The question presented six options for the readers to choose from varying from disagreeing to agreeing to even no placement in the dispute. Of all the responses, most were neutral (26.5%) or chose to agree (36.8%).

      

      The remainder of the questions (9- 12) didn’t ask the audience to choose an answer, rather to answer to their pleasing. Moving onto question nine, the audience was asked to explain their concerns about cheetah reintroduction. Exploring the various responses, the answer I came across most was concerns about the interaction of cheetahs, humans, other species and the habitat. A large majority of people were most concerned for the cheetahs themselves and how they will handle being reintroduced. Question ten asked the audience to specify any questions the respondents had about the subject. Reading through the responses presented the most asked question involved the wellbeing of the cheetah and how it will handle or be taken care of in its new habitat. Question eleven asked the audience to explain what they believed to be their role in big cat conservation. Analyzing the responses, most believed their role to be an informer; to help those uninformed become more aware of the situation taking place. For the final question, the audience was asked to specify what they want most for big cat conservation and the reintroduction of the cheetah into India. Of those that responded, the most popular response was for not only cheetahs but also big cats to not be on the endangered species list; for the cat species to be stable enough to survive in the wild without the help of human interaction.

      Something to be considered while analyzing the results is the fact that the survey was only available to respond to for roughly three weeks and could only be answered by those we sent the link to. Those concerned with big cat conservation is few and far between, making it difficult to get proper data on the audience. The data would have been more reliable if the survey had been available to those that are against, for and neutral towards the subject. Based on the information, not enough people against the argument could get to the survey to answer; so there was a very biased trend toward the responses.

      While reviewing the results, it was noticed that it is preferred by the readers if the articles and subjects they wanted to be informed about be on Television or in movies or documentaries for non-online communication sources. While for online communication sources, those that do read scientific articles claimed that the articles or subjects they read about were found on online news sites, social networks and scientific journal websites while being sure to include supporting evidence to back up the information and facts stated. Particular information that the audience wants to know that others have failed to better inform them about is the wellbeing of the cheetah and how it will handle or be taken care of in its new habitat. The articles most come across only mentioned generic information about the landscape, how they believe the cheetah will grasp the change and what the community intends to do if something goes wrong. Concerns on the subject of cheetah reintroduction involved the interaction of cheetahs, humans, other species and the ecosystem. Basically, the audience wants to know information and facts about the plan, the ecosystem they intend on reintroducing them into and how it will affect the cheetahs but also including how the reintroduction of the cheetahs into this new habitat will affect the various species already occupying it. The audience doesn’t particularly want any feature more then another while reading, just viable information they can use to inform others.

       Most readers possessed a high value for big cat conservation. For the most part, a majority of those that claimed to put big cat conservation in high esteem knew very basic or intermediate knowledge about the subject; however, when diving into the topic of cheetah reintroduction, a very large portion of people that took the survey had particularly no knowledge.  So for the most part, those that picked a side of the argument, to agree or disagree had no knowledge to base their decision off of. This is probably also why a large portion of the short answer questions were not answered; people don’t like answering questions they don’t know.

      Resources

Burke, Jason. “India Approves Plans to Reintroduce Cheetah.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 29 July 2010. Web. 04 Mar. 2012. <http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/29/india-cheetah&gt;.

The Jaguar vs The Leopard

Unfortunately, people often confuse a leopard and a jaguar. Some even go so far as to confuse them with a cheetah! I can be simpathetic with a jaguar and leopard, but not with a cheetah. For those people that don’t know the difference between a Leopard and a Jaguar, here’s a few differences.

There is in fact a difference between a leopard and a jaguar. Jaguars and leopards have spots called rosettes; however, the jaguars’ spots are larger, darker, have thinner lines, are more spaced out and have small dots in the center of each rosette. On the other hand, leopards have smaller rosettes that are more densely packed together, faint and don’t enclose spots. The body structures also have a definite difference; leopards are more agile and can jump several feet in the air using their short but strong legs. They have long skulls, bodies that are small, roughly five feet long and are more slightly built in comparison to the jaguars six feet long, compact and muscular body with stocky legs; while their skulls are broader, have a more square appearance and a larger jaw.

Jaguars are found in the western hemisphere, generally in Central and South America as well as Mexico in habitats such as rainforests.  Leopards, on the other hand, are found in the eastern hemisphere, generally in southern Asia as well as eastern and central Africa. They spend most of their lives in trees located in grasslands, woodlands and river land forests.

Both cats even have different ways of killing their prey. Like the cheetah, leopards choose to suffocate their prey then drag them into trees. While jaguars, will suffocate, crush or bite through the skull then drag them to a secluded spot.

Now if you’re that person that gets these two cats confused with a cheetah, forgive my language, but you are an IDIOT! They look nothing alike! Get your eyes checked!

Ancestry of the Cat that Cries

Here’s the second research paper for my College Composition class, I’ll start working on blogs on other big cats over winter break. Hope you enjoy. 😄

Cheetahs of today are fast and their body structures show it. The way their long limbs glide through the air, reaching speeds as high as 80mph. Besides some differences in the skull and a few other areas of the body, the frame of the cheetah has remained relatively the same throughout the millions of years of evolution. It was once believed that their ancestors originated from Africa; recent findings have disproved this thought. Through time, their body structure has changed and adapted based on the environment around them and their migrating habitat.

Today, cheetahs are often found in habitats varying from desert regions to open grasslands and woodland. As stated by David Alderton, author of Wildcats of the World, cheetahs are “now restricted to an area south of the Sahara in Africa, with just tiny populations surviving at various locations in North Africa and the Middle East” (178). The majority of the species is found in southern Africa, south of the Sahara. The Asiatic species, found in Iran, has an average of 60-100 cheetahs and are considered critically endangered. As stated by James Randerson, “. . . according to the Red List, it represents the remnants of a much larger population that was once widespread across Asia but was devastated by human-induced habitat destruction and hunting” (Randerson).

It has been observed by Dragesco-Joffe that white cheetahs tend to be pale in the Sahara desert with ochre spots and a muted tear line and tail rings. Another such cheetah was supposedly kept by a man named Jahangir, father of the Moghul, in 1611. The cheetahs body was white, had a bluish tint and the markings were blue rather than black.  Whereas, cheetahs in the mountain ranges in the Sahara’s retain black spots like most common cheetahs.  In comparison, the Asian cheetahs differ from their African cousins in the fact that they have darker and longer fur with a larger body frame. “No comparisons of blood and tissue specimens between the Asian and African species have ever been made and some theorize that the Asiatic Cheetah is simply an African Cheetah whose ancestors were brought from Africa to be used for sport” (Asiatic Cheetah).

Cheetahs used to be extremely widespread up until the last Ice Age where they barely survived and their numbers declined dramatically. Historically, cheetah densities have always been low because of intrasexual combat between males and predation of cubs. Another factor is that cheetahs were poor competitors, supporting this hypothesis is the fact that cheetah species became extinct before North American and European lion species. Cheetahs of today have the same problem of predation as their ancestors did. One of the leading hypotheses is that predation on cheetah cubs is one of the most important natural limiting factor on cheetahs. As stated by C.M. Shorter, “The Cheetah was also believed to inhabit North America as far back as two and half million years ago where they remained until just as recently as 12,000 years ago. The early Cheetah, Acinonyx pardinensis found in Europe resembled our modern day Cheetah with the exception of being quite noticeably larger” (Shorter). Roughly ten to twelve thousand years ago, the species rapidly declined where about 99 percent of the entire population died in a very short period of time. The ancestral body structure was roughly the size of a lion in comparison to today’s cheetah and had a more primitive skull and teeth. In today’s cheetahs however, the scapula is elongated and they have deep and narrow muscle attachments that help contribute to sprinting. The scapula, also known as the shoulder blade, connects the upper arm bone and the collar bone. To this day, cheetahs share many of their ancestors’ features only slightly modified including: enlarged nostrils, lungs, and heart as well as fast twitch muscle fibers that specialize both in providing power and in effectively working for a short time when oxygen is in short supply through anaerobic respiration.

Over the years, the classification of the cheetah has changed, varying from Felis jubata, cat with mane, to Felis cynailurus or Cynofelis, meaning dog-like cat. For a period of time, it was believed the cheetahs were one of the first of the cats that diverged from the cat family tree into the dog family, in a monophyletic group, Acinonychinae. In fact, they actually diverged into the puma lineage roughly 7.2 million years ago. Despite the fact that they share many similarities with cats, they also share some with dogs such as: their paw prints and the skinny greyhound waist. Using genetic distance, a measure used to tell the genetic divergence between species, scientists have found that the clouded leopard was the first species of cat to split off. Today’s classification Acinonyx refers to their non-retractable claws and jubatus means having a mane. Cheetahs are the only species of cat that is classified in the genus Acinonyx.

There are many different subspecies of cheetahs, unfortunately most are extinct. The few remaining today include the Asiatic(Acinonyx jubatus venaticus) found in India and the Middle East, the Southern African(A. jubatus jubatus) found in Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana, and Angola, and the East African cheetah(A. jubatus raineyii) found in Kenya, Uganda and Somalia. The Northwest African cheetah (A. jubatus hecki) was thought to be extinct; recent discoveries and sightings have proved otherwise with an average of about 200 cheetahs seen to date. At one point the king cheetah was thought to be another subspecies Acinonyx rex; however, after some research it was proved to be a recessive gene. There have been a few other subspecies that may have also been a recessive gene; one including the woolly cheetah (A. jubatus guttatus) has been extinct since the 1880’s. They had longer, denser fur, thicker bodies, shorter limbs, and dense hair around the neck. There have also been recordings of a melanistic cheetah with ghost markings, either black or white, a red cheetah that has tawny spots with a golden background, cream/isabelline cheetah with a diluted red with pale red spots and a pale background, and the white/blue/grey cheetah.

Over the past two million years there have been many variations and ancestors to today’s A. jubatus jubatus. Some of those extinct subspecies include: Central African (A. jubatus soemmeringii), Western East African (A. Jubatus velox), Caspian Sea area and Turkestan (A. Jubatus raddei), North African (A. aicha), European or Giant cheetah (A. pardinesis), North American (A. trumani) and once thought to be the oldest, found in North America (A. studeri). However, there has been a recent discovery found in China, which has been given the scientific name, Acinonyx kurteni.

As described by Dexter, “This new fossil is around as old as the oldest cheetah fossils we already have . . . but unlike all those, it has a unique set of ‘primitive’ characteristics that strongly suggest it is an earlier ancestor to all cheetahs, allowing us to go back deeper in the evolutionary sequence of the cheetah” (Dexter).The Chinese cheetahs have enlarged air sinuses, a bulging skull that is tall and domed, a bulging nose, primitive teeth and a wide braincase but altogether with a skull relatively the same size as living cheetahs. It was assumed by Dr. Per Christiansen, scientist of the vertebrate department of the Zoological Museum of Denmark, that it was around this earlier time when the cheetahs’ ancestors started running fast and going through one of the first steps in cheetah evolution. This new finding allows argument for a Eurasian/African ancestry for the cheetahs as well as Miracinonyx cats, later dispersing into North America.

The king cheetah is a rare gene in the cheetah that is predicted to mark the next phase in the history of the cheetah. The first recorded sighting of a king cheetah was in 1926 in Zimbabwe; by 1927 it had been given its scientific name by Reginald Innes Pocock. In between then and 1974 it was only sighted five more times; however, that number has increased in modern times. As suggested by Zoologist Miklos Kretzoi over fifty years ago, the cheetah is beginning to change its appearance to better adjust to wooded surroundings. As quoted by Randall L. Eaton, author of The Cheetah, “The King (Rex)cheetah or A. rex appears to be a population in which all phenotypic features . . . are the same as A. jubatus except for coloration and pattern of the fur” (17). This recessive gene is thought to have first appeared when southern Africa was colder and more heavily wooden. This new development could represent an evolutionary development; however, it could also mean the reverse effect, time will tell.

Endangerment of the Cheetah

This post as well as the next I wrote for my college composition class, so they both will relate to cheetahs. After I post these I’ll be sure to get down to more about other big cats.

An animal with rapid reproduction rates should not be on the endangered species list; the cheetah defies that rule. They bear between two to eight cubs per litter, yet they are extremely close to the brink of extinction. World renowned as the fastest land mammal, cheetahs are speeding towards their own demise.  Loss of habitat, disease, starvation and poaching affects the cheetah population in such a negative way that the species will soon disappear.

Cheetahs are currently found mainly in a few areas in Iran, North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa. As of 1974, the largest population was found in South West Africa, and the population in east Africa was second largest. Today, the largest cheetah population is found in Namibia; however, over 90% of that population is found on farmlands and private game ranches. One such example is the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) run by Dr. Laurie Marker; a cheetah reserve established in Namibia. Farmers usually assume cheetahs kill their livestock and in response, kill or poison the cheetahs; however, that is not the case.

There used to be as many as 100,000 cheetahs found in the wild, by 1980 it had reduced to roughly 25,000; today, numbers have dwindled down to as few as 15,000 – 9,000. Cheetahs come from a very small gene pool, indicating that at some point the cheetah population was quite low. No fossil remains of cheetahs in Africa have been found to date, thereby proving an early Asian origin. The history of the cheetah in Asia has been one of decline with no recovery; unfortunately, the same pattern seems to be developing in the African cheetahs. “The cheetah has evolved independently from the other big African cats, the Panthera group” (Randall Eaton. 16). The hyoid bone apparatus which permits roaring does not appear in the cheetah as it does in the Panthera cats.

Cheetahs have non-retractable claws that help them run faster, turn sharp corners and grab onto their prey, usually the Thompson’s gazelle, impalas, and other small organisms such as birds and hares. However, when they hunt in groups, usually with siblings of the same gender, then they are able to take down larger prey such as wildebeests and zebras. If they want to finish their food they must eat quickly while staying on guard, otherwise chance losing it to other predatorial animals such as: lions, hyenas, vultures and jackals. Cheetahs tend to let other big cats and predators push them around; when a lion or hyena approaches, they walk away, allowing them to steal their kill.

                Cheetahs are not known to attack unless cornered; they are considered the most tame of all of the big cats. As stated by author, Randall Eaton from his book The Cheetah, “It is being trapped for its value alive, shot for the value of its fur, poisoned because it supposedly kills livestock, occasionally hunted for ‘sport,’ made homeless through loss of its habitat, and starved through the loss of its prey’s habitat” (156). Many people, such as president of the Cheetah Rescue Club, L. Von Heczey have been known to keep cheetahs as a pet; however, one thing to remember is that they are still a wild animal and should not be looked upon as anything else. They are still capable of killing.

                Cheetahs are cheating the natural order of sexual reproduction. Studies show that cheetahs of the Serengeti are birthing litters that consists of cubs from different fathers. According to Science and technology reporter of BBC News, Jonathan Fildes, “Infidelity is not common among other big cats” (Cheating Cheetahs caught by DNA). It’s not that Infidelity does not occur in other big cats, just not as often; cats of all kinds have been known to reproduce with more than one mate. Infidelity is a common occurrence found to take place between many species varying from cats to bears as well as many other species; it is when an animal mates with more than one member of the opposite sex. Infidelity is a common occurrence found in cheetahs which makes them more genetically diverse; however, it has also been questioned if it makes them more susceptible to disease which would make them less adaptable.

The first recorded birth of a captive cheetah was at Philadelphia Zoo in 1956; however, the litter died. It wasn’t until 1966, in a private Roman zoo that a female cheetah was successful in birthing and raising her young male cub. Cheetahs in captivity, especially young captive cheetahs are more susceptible to some common diseases such as: tuberculosis, panleucopenia (feline distemper), Rickets, Cirrhosis of liver, Pneumonia, and other bronchial and liver diseases. It has also been found that cheetahs are quite anemic and have worms more often than not.

                “Despite the genuine advances made by zoos in breeding exotic animals and despite their successes, the long-term future of most species ultimately lies in the viability of free-living populations in the context of natural ecosystems” (T.M. Caro. 365). The only way we can ensure the survival of the cheetah is to make sure they can stay adapted in the wild; preserving an animal in captivity only does so much. Preserving the few remaining areas/habitats where cheetahs are located is one of the biggest things the world as a whole could do to help ensure the safety of this species as well as many others. Differences can be made by educating the public about the cheetahs and informing them about how they can help.