The Asiatic lion has long since disappeared, the Caspian tiger too is no more. The only great cat left in Iran is the Asiatic cheetah, of which there are around 50, and that number is dwindling fast.
Like its close relative the African cheetah, the Asiatic cheetah is considered the fastest land animal on the planet. They are smaller and paler than their cousins to the south but are equally as impressive. The big cat has all but disappeared from the rest of its territory and now only calls a few small regions in Iran home. But even those areas are under threat. Their populations are constantly under attack by shepherds wanting to protect their flock, trappers and motorists.
For years the UN and the Iranian government had worked to save the remaining 50 but it now seems that both the government and the international organization have turned their backs on this amazing cat. Ostensibly leaving the entire species to perish.
In 2017, the United Nations, one of the only organizations able to easily transfer money into Iran, stopped funding Asiatic cheetah conservation projects inside of Iran. And the government itself closed the spigot when they whittled the budget to its department of the environment — the government organization responsible for endangered animal protection. To top off that financial blow, Iran then went on to arrest some of the only conservationists studying the feline. Eight members of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation (PWHF) were accused of using camera traps to spy on the Iranian government and may face capital punishment. (You may sign a special petition to help the eight conservationists here.)
These three moves have turned the fastest cat on the planet into one of the planets fastest disappearing animals altogether. Please call on Iran and the United Nations to rededicate funding to Asiatic cheetah research and conservation. If we don't act now, this cat may disappear for good.