By Anubhav Das:
Just imagine the size of sleek ash-gold cat —the world’s fastest animal — racing in grasslands. The day is not so far, when this splendid sight will be mere imagination. Kudos to “the most intellectual being on the earth”. Yes, the world is losing its pace – the cheetah is disappearing from our greens at a rate faster than ever.
The situation is even worse in India. It has now been 60 years since cheetah was declared extinct in India. Its last sighting was in 1947. In the name of development, the grasslands are being cleared, forests are becoming tree-less and all this has resulted, rather forced, the big cat to pack its bag and leave the place that served its habitat for about centuries. The impacts are inevitable and unimaginable. As the tiger population is already on a decline, loss of another carnivore has shaken the balance of wildlife. And as a result, humans are also going to see a drastic impact on their ecology as well.
The biggest threat that cheetahs are facing today are the decline in prey, loss of habitat, poaching an indiscriminant trapping and shooting. Cheetah population also suffers from a low level of genetic diversity. This means that increased health and survival risk for cheetahs has in breeding, increases the risk of genetic diseases and deformities. Then, to bring back the deep, resonant purr of the animal which can beat a Ferrari over a 60m sprint, we have to do a little more than enough. The keys to cheetah conservation in the wild is to relay on conservation to habitat and prey animals, education of local people about the cheetah’s importance in a healthy eco system and maintaining a healthy population of cheetah’s in the wild. Any successful long term cheetah conservation plan will involve management, human-cheetah conflict management, protection of habitat, education about the cheetah and in-depth, long term scientific studies of wild cheetahs.
Legend has it that the dark lines running under a cheetah’s eyes are the stains from tears said over lost dear ones and the day is not for when man will have same stains blotted over himself and his development.