Extinction of Cheetah from India in English Animals by Dr. Bhairavsinh Raol books and stories PDF | Extinction of Cheetah from India

Extinction of Cheetah from India

The Asiatic cheetah once ranged from the Arabian Peninsula and Near East to Iran, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan to India. It is considered regionally extinct in all of its former range, with the only known surviving population being Iran.Cheetahs are found primarily in the eastern and southern ranges of Africa south of the Sahara Desert. Small populations of cheetahs can be found in North Africa and Iran.

Why and how the cheetah went extinct in India has been a subject of great debate. When the Asiatic Cheetah was found in India,the last was seen in 1951.Cheetahs in India were declared extinct in 1952. Extensive hunting and habitat loss was the main reason for their extirpation.
Cheetahs have become gravely extinct, the major factors responsible are climatic change, poaching, hunting, and domestication for other animals, breeding in captivity, habitat destruction,weak immune system, genetic variability.
Before we discuss about extinction of Cheetah from India,let us see the distinguishing features and differences of Cheetah and leopard:

(i) Scientific nomenclature: The scientific name of Cheetah is Acinonyx jubatus venaticus Type: Mammals. Diet: Carnivore.
Keopard, scientific name is Panthera pardus , also called panther, large cat closely related to the lion, tiger, and jaguar.

(ii) Life span:
Average Life Span of Cheetah In the Wild: Up to 14 years
Average Life span of leopard average 10 to 12 years in the wild. Up to 23 years in captivity.

(iii) Speed:
Cheetahs are the world's fastest land animal, capable of reaching speeds of up to 70 mph.than themselves! They stash food up high so other predators such as lions or hyenas can't get it. Cheetah rely on their exceptional speed to hunt prey. They can accelerate from 0-115 km/h in just three seconds! Cheetah runs faster than leopard . Cheetahs are fast runners and can run at a speed of 110-130km/h,.
while leopards can run at a speed of 50- 58km/h. Leopard Speed 58 km/h
Maximum, Running.Leopards are faster than lions. Lions can reach speeds of 35 mph when they are closing in on their prey, but leopards can run at 40 mph when chasing down their next meal.African leopards have a top speed of 56-60 km/h (35-40 mph). That's significantly slower than cheetahs and lions, as well as being slower than a lot of its prey.
Running speed:
Cheetah:80 – 130 km/h
Jaguar:80 km/h
Lion:80 km/h
Tiger:49 – 65 km/h
Cougar:64 – 80 km/h
Tiger: 49 – 65 km/h
Felidae Cat: 48 km/h
Spotted hyena: 64 km/h

(iv) Size and weight:Adult cheetahs' weight averages between 75 and 125 pounds (34 and 57 kg). They can measure from 40 to 60 inches in length, measured from the head to the hind quarters. The tail can add a further 24 to 32 inches bringing the total overall length up to 7.5 feet.

Leopards are the smallest of the large cats, which includes lions, tigers, and jaguars. Female leopards weigh 46 to 132 pounds (21 to 60 kg)and males weigh 80 to 165 pounds(36 to 75 kg). They average 28 inches at the shoulder with a general range of 17.5 to 30.5 inches high at the shoulder.

(v) Tear mark below eye: Cheetahs also have a way to stop the glaring sun from obstructing their view. Those black tear marks, also called "malar stripes" that run down from their eyes down both the sides of their face, attract the sun away from the eyes.
Malar stripe are the marks under a cheetahs eyes .
The dark tear mark below a cheetah's eye, called a malar stripe, attracts the sunlight and keeps the glare of the sun out of its eyes. They work just like the black marks that football players put under their eyes during the games.
No such tear marks are found below leopard's eyes

(vi) Pattern on coat fur:'Cheetahs have an upper coat of fur that is tawny, pale buff or grayish white, with underparts that are paler and whiter. Black spots are set close together on the pelage with a series of black rings around the last one-third of the tail.
The most common difference between leopard and Cheetah is the patterns on their coat. At first glance, it may look like they both have spots, but in actual fact, a leopard has rosettes which are rose-like markings, and cheetahs have a solid round or oval spot shape.
(vii) Climbing strength: Leopards have incredible strength and can climb as high as 50 feet (15 meters) up a favorite tree while holding a fresh kill in its mouth, even one larger and heavier Compared to Cheetahs, Leopards are very good tree climbers, as they can easily climb up with the help of their retractile claws while cheetahs cannot.

(vii) Worldwide population:
Scientists estimate that fewer than 8,000 African cheetahs(6500-7100) are living in the wild today and that there may be fewer than 50 Asian cheetahs left in the world. These data reflect an overall decline of about 50 percent in the last four decades, as well as a significant shrinkage in the historic range of the species.
Africa is home to most of the cheetahs, which are extinct across Asia, except in Iran.Previously estimated at mere 2,000 individuals since the 1990s, as of 2015, over 3,500 cheetahs live in Namibia today. The country maintains the largest population of wild cheetahs worldwide.
Leopard population:
conservation status estimates place the population of African leopards (P. pardus pardus) at more than 700,000 leopards, whereas the roughly 9,800-leopard-strong population of Indian leopards (P. pardus fusca), is thought to be increasing.
There were 1,395 leopards in Gujarat as per the 2016 census.Zambia is country that has most leopards.
Witness leopards in Zambia
With the highest number of leopards in the whole continent.Zambia's South Luangwa National Park is widely hailed as the go-to place for sightings.

Reasons for extinction of Cheetah from India are as follows:

(1) Cheetahs were once widespread in India and became extinct in 1952 from hunting . They remain the first and only predator to die out since India's independence in 1947.

(2) Some attribute the extinction to desertification (the process of fertile land turning into a desert), which may have taken away the animal’s natural habitat, the loss of habitat particularly in Rajasthan.

(3) Another important factor thought is the domestication of cheetahs.Cheetahs are not an active threat to humans, and are rather docile compared to other wild cats. As unimaginable as it sounds, in India, cheetahs have been domesticated as hunting animals for years, with the earliest known mention of it in the 12th-century.

(4) It is extremely rare for cheetahs to breed in captivity. In 1613, the Mughal emperor Jahangir formally recorded what is known to be the first instance of a cheetah bred in captivity in the world. This is considered to be the only such instance of captive breeding of a cheetah. As a result, over the years, cubs were repeatedly caught in their natural habitat and subsequently domesticated for sport, thereby reducing the number of cheetahs in the wild. Records from emperor Akbar’s reign from 1556 to 1605 show that cheetah numbers were approximately 10,000. Research suggests that by the 19th century, this number fell to a few hundreds.

(5) Hunting:
There are paintings of Tipu Sultan's and Maharaja Sayajirao' hunting cheetah.
An Indian prince, the Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo, is widely believed to have killed the last three recorded cheetahs in India in the late 1940s.

(6) Use of Cheetah for hunting of blackbucks and Chinkara:
Blackbuck was its main prey, along with Indian Gazelle (“Chinkara”) in some areas. There are numerous Mughal and Rajput paintings showing Cheetah chasing a herd of Blackbuck. Emperor Jahangir, while traveling from Delhi to Agra, noted that Blackbuck were so numerous, they were never out of sight during his journey.Blackbuck and Cheetah shared their grassland habitat with the Great Indian Bustard (GIB),a species that has disappeared with most parts of its range.
People in the ancient times believed that cheetahs could carry the spirit of a dead person much faster than it would otherwise take to get to the afterlife. Besides superstitious beliefs and keeping them as pets, kings, emperors, and pharaohs usually wore their fur.

(6) Cheetahs as Pets(Domestication):Cheetahs have never been domesticated; however, they have been kept as pets for thousands of years. They were often the companions of the rich and high profile. Historically, emperors, kings, and pharaohs kept them as a sign of wealth.
Egyptians kept cheetahs as pets:Cheetahs were Domesticated as House Pets in Ancient Egypt.
Cheetahs are known to be tamed, trained and to hunt herbivorous animals. Once existing in Egypt, the Ancient Egyptians often kept the cheetahs and raised them as pets, and also tamed and trained them for hunting mammals.
Cheetahs can be human friendly:It is a well-recorded fact that Cheetahs are docile animals and do not pose a threat to humans. These beautiful cats are shy and will avoid direct contact with humans.

(7) Low level of genetic variability: On other hand Cheetahs' own genes also pose a challenge to their continued survival.Cheetahs survived a population collapse more than 12,000 years ago that led to inbreeding and a loss of genetic diversity. As a result, modern cheetahs are prone to disease and have poor sperm quality.Cheetahs are more inclined to be sensitive to diseases since their genetic variation has substantially shrunk. Their genetic diversity has reached almost the lowest level. Viruses mutate on a daily basis and when cheetahs are attacked their unchangeable immune system cannot defend properly.

On September 17 2022, eight Southeast African cheetahs from Namibia have arrived in Madhya Pradesh's Kuno National Park, where they were released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as part of the programme to reintroduce the feline in India.
This will be the first time that a carnivore as large as the cheetah will be conserved through relocation from one continent (Namibia, Africa)to another(India,Asia). Though the animal’s history in the country is one spotted with hunting, captivity and conflict, the reintroduction this year promises the beginning of an entirely new chapter, with conservation at the forefront.India hopes importing African cheetahs will aid efforts to conserve the country's threatened and largely neglected grasslands.
National Geographic released a report which stated that Cheetahs are facing extinction all around the globe due to the reason of climate change, human hunting, and habitat destruction, low reproductive rate all of which are hampering the size of their cheetah are regarded as vulnerable species.
Only around 6500 to 7100 adult cheetahs are alive today, most of them in Africa, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN).
The global population of cheetahs is 6,500 to 7,100, according to a list of threatened animals from the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Cheetahs are listed as “Vulnerable” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, but after a recent study revealed significant population declines, scientists are calling for cheetahs to be uplisted to “Endangered.”

Poaching law in India: Penal Code, 1860: Section 428 and Section 429 reads that killing, poaching, maiming, poisoning or torturing an animal is a cognizable offence and immediately FIR must be lodged in area police station.The punishment for such act is rigorous imprisonment which may extent to five years or fine or both.

The most poached animals in India :Pangolins is most poached animal in India.
Pangolins hold the rare title of being the most trafficked and poached mammal in the world including India.
Major wildlife crime in India includes poaching of tigers, rhinos and the sale of Star tortoises. Tigers are an endangered species, poached for their skin and bones to cater to an illegal market. Their body parts are used in Asian medicines and tiger claws are used in jewellery.

Final remark:
"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.
We have to learn from history about mistakes our past generations have committed. Hunting was not the sole reason for extinction of Cheetah from India, but other major reasons were change in climate, desertification, habitat destruction, poor genetic variability, weak immune system , domestication, breeding in captivity.Inspite of poaching law in India, illegal poaching of wild animals like Pangolin, tigers, leopards, rhinos and Star tortoise is still continued
in our country.

Information compiled by: Dr. Bhairavsinh Raol

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