Like many of Africa’s most stunning big cats, the African Cheetah has been threatened by years of surreptitious hunting for a number of reasons. In fact, the most threatened of all African cats is its Cheetah, with an estimated global population of less than 7,000.
Tanzania is key to much of the African Cheetah population in the world, as most of these big cats are spread across the Serengeti, with only about 1,000 cheetahs living in Southern Africa. Individual populations vary, but the bulk of these cheetahs live within the bounds of the Serengeti.
Viable populations of African Cheetahs require extremely wide expanses of land to live comfortably. This is due to the fact that cheetahs need a fair amount of prey to survive, so without a significant crop of land, there won’t be enough prey for a population of cheetahs to live on.
The fact that the bulk of these cheetahs live in the Serengeti means that Tanzania provides the best opportunity for viewing these now elusive big cats. They are viewable through safari expeditions in the area that allow a unique, fly on the wall perspective on the animals.
At one time, the African Cheetah was a wide-reaching species, though never exactly highly populated even in protected areas in its prime due to the fact that they must live in low densities in order to thrive. Retaliatory hunting as a result of livestock depletion as well as hunting for illegal trade have contributed greatly to the now low population.
Perhaps as more people have an opportunity to view the African Cheetah through expeditions like safaris, a greater awareness for conservation efforts will emerge. The African Cheetah currently exists in a precarious state, but hopefully education and awareness efforts will someday cement this big cat’s fate as more certain.