Cheetahs at Risk of Extinction as African Habitat Shrinks: Study | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Cheetahs at Risk of Extinction as African Habitat Shrinks: Study

An estimated 7,100 cheetahs remain in the wild across Africa and in a small area of Iran

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    AP Photo/Ben Curtis
    In this photo taken Monday, July 6, 2015, a cheetah yawns as others lie down in the late afternoon in the savannah of the Maasai Mara, south-western Kenya.

    Conservationists are sounding alarm bells for the cheetah, the fastest animal on land, amid population declines for many wildlife species in Africa, NBC News reported. 

    An estimated 7,100 cheetahs remain in the wild across the continent and in a small area of Iran, and human encroachment has pushed the wide-ranging predator out of 91 percent of its historic habitat, according to a study published on Monday. 

    Its authors argued that the cheetah should be defined as "endangered" instead of the less serious "vulnerable" on an official watch list of threatened species worldwide.

    "This period is really crunch time for species like cheetah that need these big areas," said Sarah Durant, a cheetah specialist at the Zoological Society of London and the lead author of the report published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.