Cheetah's on the Focus
The cheetah was once one of the most widely distributed land animals. Through the course of time, cheetahs migrated over land bridges from North America into China, through Asia, India, Europe, and finally to Africa, settling in its worldwide range as recently as 20,000 years ago. In 1900, approximately 100,000 cheetahs were found in at least 44 countries throughout Africa and Asia. The current free-ranging African populations of cheetahs are found in small, fragmented areas spread in 29 African countries of North Africa, the Sahel, East and southern Africa, and it is estimated that around 15,000 animals remain, representing a decline of nearly 90% over the century. However, current information about the status of the cheetah in many countries, especially countries that have been engaged in long civil wars, is lacking. The information from North and West Africa is particularly limited, and the cheetah's future in these areas is questionable. The remaining strongholds are Kenya and Tanzania in East Africa, and Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe in southern Africa.