While the personification of 2016 is a bit irritating, it’s plain hard to avoid. The waning days of the year have been crippling, so it’s no surprise that our favorite fast felines are now in danger… and it’s all because of 2016… not really, but c’mon.
According to reports, only 7,100 cheetahs remain in the world. To put that into context, their population in Zimbabwe shrunk from an approximate 1,200 to 170 over the past 16 years and they’ve lost 91 percent of their historic habitat range.
Sarah Durant, a senior researcher with the Zoological Society of London and the Wildlife Conservation Society, explained the situation in a released statement, saying: “Our findings show that the large space requirements for cheetah[s], coupled with the complex range of threats faced by the species in the wild, mean that it is likely to be much more vulnerable to extinction than was previously thought.”
Officially, the status of the cheetah is merely “vulnerable,” but this new information has sparked a call from animal rights activists to update their status to “endangered” before it unofficially becomes “extinct.”
Currently, the blame for the dwindling cheetahs in being placed on… wait for it… humans. What with all the hunting, exotic-pet trading, and illegal trafficking of cheetah parts, in addition to taking land from the cheetahs and all. According to Kim Young-Overton, who serves as director of the conservation organization Cheetah Program for Panthera, “We must think bigger, conserving across the mosaic of protected and unprotected landscapes that these far-ranging cats inhabit, if we are to avert the otherwise certain loss of the cheetah forever.”
Can this year just end already?