A female Asiatic cheetah gives birth to three cubs in Iran

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A female Asiatic cheetah has given birth to three cubs in Iran, in the first captive birth of the critically endangered cat species, the official agency reported on Sunday.

“Three cheetah cubs were born healthy by caesarean section” at the Touran wildlife refuge in Semnan province, east of Tehran, Ali Salajegheh, head of Iran’s environment department, was quoted as saying by IRNA.

“Since this is the first birth of a captive Asiatic cheetah, we can increase the cheetah population by keeping the cubs,” he added.

“Initial veterinary care has been provided and the mother and puppies are now in normal health condition but remain in intensive care,” he said.

According to him, so far less than 20 Asiatic cheetahs have been seen in the different Iranian provinces where the animal lives.

In January, Iran’s deputy environment minister, Hasan Akbari, stated that the country was home to only a dozen Asiatic cheetahs, down from an estimated 100 in 2010.

The cheetah is the fastest land animal in the world, capable of reaching a speed of 12 km per hour. They formerly ranged from eastern India to the Atlantic coast of Senegal and beyond.

They are still found in parts of southern Africa, but have virtually disappeared from North Africa and Asia.

Iran is one of the last countries in the world where Asiatic cheetahs live in the wild and in 2001 began a protection program supported by the United Nations.

The subspecies “Acinonyx jubatus venaticus,” commonly known as the Asiatic cheetah, is critically endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

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