At AllThingsNature, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What Is Cheetah Conservation?

Nya Bruce
Nya Bruce

Cheetah conservation is generally defined as the actions of individuals and organizations to preserve the life and habitat of cheetahs. As the oldest species of the big cats and the fastest land animals alive, cheetahs once roamed Asia, Africa and even North America. Their domain and their numbers, because of various factors, have drastically dwindled, and as of 2011, there were roughly 10,000 to 15,000 cheetahs remaining. As a result, they were considered a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

Wildlife conservation organizations help endangered animals such as the cheetah. The Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia, for example, has been in place since 1990, with the goal of conserving cheetah resources and habitat as well as implementing programs in the community to encourage understanding about the plight of this threatened animal. Other organizations that offer environmental conservation resources and efforts to save the cheetah and the cheetah habitat include Cheetah Conservation Botswana, Cheetah Outreach and other members of the Cheetah Conservation Compendium.

Cheetahs are the fastest land animals alive.
Cheetahs are the fastest land animals alive.

Threats from humans and the environment contribute to the need for cheetah conservation efforts. Although humans have taken up the efforts to preserve the cheetah, they also represent one of the largest threats to cheetahs because human encroachment has limited their natural habitat and reduced their prey. Encounters between cheetahs and ranchers often end in the animal's death by gunshot, particularly when livestock are in jeopardy. Another threat to cheetahs comes from their inability to defend their cubs and their kills from larger, more aggressive predators. Cheetahs are built more for speed than strength, and they will often give up their catch to the stronger predator when approached.

Cheetah conservationists attempt to preserve cheetahs and their natural habitat.
Cheetah conservationists attempt to preserve cheetahs and their natural habitat.

Methods of conservation vary depending on these threats. To prevent further loss from contact with farmers, conservation groups have implemented non-lethal programs that encourage farmers to use alternative methods to protect their livestock. For example, farmers have been encouraged to use the dogs to deter cheetahs from attacking livestock. In addition, educational programs also have been put in place to teach farmers, the general public and the international community as a whole about the need for conserving cheetahs and their habitat.

Genetic defects are another problem that conservation efforts have attempted to address. Cheetahs share about 90 percent of the same genes because of excessive inbreeding, making them — on a genetic level — as similar to one another as twins. As a result, they are susceptible to diseases and defects that have the potential to completely wipe out the species.

Defective sperm is a problem that reduces cheetahs' ability to successfully reproduce. To increase the genetic diversity of cheetahs, efforts have been made to breed those that are kept in captivity. In vitro fertilization techniques are used to impregnate female cheetahs using the sperm and egg of cheetahs that are least related to one another.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is cheetah conservation important?

Cheetah conservation is crucial because cheetahs are a keystone species, playing an essential role in maintaining the balance of their ecosystem. With their populations declining due to habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, and illegal wildlife trade, their conservation helps preserve biodiversity. According to the IUCN Red List, cheetahs are classified as vulnerable, with just over 6,600 left in the wild, highlighting the urgency of conservation efforts.

What are the main threats to cheetah populations?

The primary threats to cheetahs include habitat loss due to agricultural expansion, human-wildlife conflict as they are often killed by farmers protecting livestock, and the illegal pet trade. Additionally, their low genetic diversity and high cub mortality rate exacerbate their vulnerability. Conservation groups are working to mitigate these threats through various strategies, including community engagement and protected areas.

How do conservationists track cheetah populations?

Conservationists track cheetah populations using methods like camera traps, GPS collaring, and field surveys. These techniques provide data on cheetah distribution, behavior, and numbers. GPS collars, in particular, offer real-time tracking, allowing researchers to study cheetah movement patterns and habitat use, which is vital for creating effective conservation plans.

What role do local communities play in cheetah conservation?

Local communities are integral to cheetah conservation. By involving them in conservation efforts, such as through education and sustainable livelihood programs, they become stewards of the wildlife. Programs like livestock guarding dogs and community-based conservation initiatives help reduce human-wildlife conflict and promote coexistence, which is essential for the survival of cheetahs in the wild.

Can captive breeding programs help save cheetahs?

Captive breeding programs can be a safety net for cheetahs, maintaining genetic diversity and providing individuals for reintroduction into the wild. However, these programs must be carefully managed to ensure genetic health and that the cheetahs retain their natural behaviors. Successful reintroduction also depends on securing safe and suitable habitats for released cheetahs.

What can individuals do to support cheetah conservation?

Individuals can support cheetah conservation by donating to reputable wildlife conservation organizations, spreading awareness about the cheetah's plight, and advocating for policies that protect their habitats. Participating in ecotourism that benefits conservation efforts and avoiding products that contribute to habitat destruction can also make a significant impact on the survival of this iconic species.

Discussion Comments


In relation to the end of the third article, I've always agreed that cheetahs speed is their strength. They certainly aren't the strongest of animals, and without their flawless mobility, imagine how hard it would be for them to catch up with their prey.


@Chmander - While it is true that zoos keep animals safe from the environment, humans are still a strong factor that affect them. If you re-read the third paragraph again, notice how it says that humans have limited their natural habitat and prey. Sure, they're fed in zoos and put in a habitat, but that still doesn't change the fact that humans play a major role in all this.


In my opinion, I would say that the best way to go about cheetah conservation would be too keep them in zoos. Though this wouldn't solve the problem completely, it would certainly be a step in the right direction. After all, when animals are in zoos, they're quite safe from humans and the environment, correct?

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Cheetahs are the fastest land animals alive.
      By: JohanSwanepoel
      Cheetahs are the fastest land animals alive.
    • Cheetah conservationists attempt to preserve cheetahs and their natural habitat.
      By: TanArt
      Cheetah conservationists attempt to preserve cheetahs and their natural habitat.