18×24 pastel on pastel paper. Original unavailable.
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Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) cubs have a high mortality rate due to genetic factors and predation by carnivores in competition with the cheetah, such as the lion and hyena. Recent inbreeding causes cheetahs to share very similar genetic profiles. This has led to poor sperm, birth defects, cramped teeth, curled tails, and bent limbs. Some biologists now believe that they are too inbred to flourish as a species.
Cheetahs are included on the World Conservation Union (IUCN) list of vulnerable species (African subspecies threatened, Asiatic subspecies in critical situation) as well as on the U.S. ESA: threatened species – Appendix I of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). Approximately 12,400 cheetahs remain in the wild in twenty-five African countries; Namibia has the most, with about 2,500. Another fifty to sixty critically endangered Asiatic cheetahs are thought to remain in Iran. There have been successful breeding programs, including the use of in-vitro fertilization, in zoos around the world.
Founded in Namibia in 1990, the Cheetah Conservation Fund’s mission is to be an internationally recognised centre of excellence in research and education on cheetahs and their eco-systems, working with all stakeholders to achieve best practice in the conservation and management of the world’s cheetahs.
The Cheetah Conservation Foundation was set up in 1993 for cheetah protection. It is based in South Africa. (info from Wikipedia)