Casey Cooper, a wildlife photographer, ran into one of the most remotely friendly animals in the wild. Casey Cooper is a wildlife photographer who grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan and ran into a cheetah while trying to take a photo of the wild. At first, the cheetah tried to pose for a photo and then proceeded to meet the photographer.
Cheetahs are not on the list of friendly animals, but this particular cheetah had other thoughts as it was very friendly with the photographer.
Apparently, the cheetah wanted a hug and a scratch from the photographer. The cheetah and photographer had embraced each other for a while before a scratch on the head. The moment was caught on camera as it was posted on the popular video-sharing platform, Tiktok.
The world’s fastest land mammal is racing toward extinction, as their population continues to decrease as the year goes by. Data from experts shows that the population of cheetahs might decrease by more than 53% in the next 15 years. Luke Hunter, president and CCO for Panthera said humans have to take an active part in stopping the extinction of this animal.
"That’s really perilous. That’s a very active decline, and you have to really step in and act to address that," Hunter said while speaking about the situation. According to new data, the Cheetah population is less than 7,000. And it is not yet stopping. The population of the fastest land animal continues to decrease due to many factors.
Concerned wildlife enthusiasts like Hunter are saying that the status of cheetahs in the wild should be changed from "vulnerable" to "endangered." Hunter's reason is pretty simple. Wild animals like cheetahs are carnivores and can easily disappear from the earth's surface if it continues to decrease in numbers at this rate. "These large carnivores, when they are declining at that sort of rate, then extinction becomes a real possibility," Hunter said.
Already, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has provided data showing the increasing rate of cheetah population decline.
The decline of the cheetah population is the worst in the Asian continent. The only remnants of the cheetah population live in Iran. "In Asia, the decline of cheetahs has been particularly precipitous. Cheetahs have been extirpated from 98% of their historical range, and a critically endangered population of Asiatic cheetah Acinonyx jubatus venaticus survives only in Iran. This remnant population is tentatively estimated to comprise fewer than 50 individuals distributed across three core areas of range," the study said.
The rest of the cheetah population resides in Africa. However, they still face danger and are close to extinction too."The rest of the world’s cheetahs occur in Africa, spread across 30 fragmented populations that are now restricted to only 13% of their historical distributional range," the study said.
The major causes of the cheetahs' population decline come from human activities. In most cases, these cheetahs are hunted down by humans or burned down by wildlife fires. In other instances, the population decline in cheetahs is caused by a lack of protected areas. "Cheetahs face increased pressures from widespread human–wildlife conflict, prey loss caused by overhunting and bushmeat harvesting, habitat loss and fragmentation, and illegal trade," the study noted.