Cheetahs are carnivores of the cat family, Acinonyx jubatus. They are
native to the African Southern Saraha and southwest Asia as far east as
India. They are now extinct in Asia except for a small number in Iran's
Dasht-e Kavir province. Population estimates vary from 2,000 to 15,000.
The World Conservation Union classifies the cheetah as vunerable, with
the African sub-species as endangered and the Asiatic sub-species as
The cheetah's method of hunting is different from other wild cats in that it
runs down its prey, rather than stalking and pouncing upon them. One reason
for this type of hunting is that the cheetah is one of the fastest animal
on Earth. They can achieve bursts of speed up to 71 miles (110 km) per hour
and are the only animal capable of running down speedy bucks and gazelles.
This speed is maintainable for roughly 275 meters. In addition to
bucks and gazelles, their diet also consists of impalas, game birds, rabbits,
young warthogs, kudu, hartebeast, orynx, roan and sable.
The cheetah body resembles that of a greyhound and is very slim with long leg.
An adult cheetah measures around 67 to 94 cm (2-3 feet) and can weigh up to
100 lbs. Cheetahs are tamable and were used for centuries in India in
hunting games. The pictures above are of two cheetahs found roaming the San
Diego Wild Animal Park with a keeper.