Sunday, 20 January 2013

Survey highlights the danger of roads to Iran's endangered cheetah population

On average, two cheetah are killed on Iran's roads every year. 

Major new threat as road is built through key cheetah habitat
January 2013. Recent surveys of the causes of death amongst Iran's endangered cheetah population have revealed that out of 27 known cheetah mortalities caused by various human activities during past decade, roads were the leading cause.

At least 11 cheetah have been killed on different roads between 2005 and 2011. Turan, Bafq and Dare Anjir has experienced road accidents involving cheetahs, but Kalmand's (Just to the south of Yazd) six cheetah deaths have made it the highest-risk range for the cheetahs. These are only the known cheetah deaths, so the actual loss is almost certain to be higher.

Asiatic cheetahs are known to roam large areas and walk long distances, meaning encounter with roads inevitable. However, the majority of existing roads are around main habitats, with a few noticeable exceptions. The loss of 11 cheetah reveals a high importance of managing the entire cheetah range as whole rather than several patchy areas to ensure the species long-term survival.

Major threat
There is now a major challenge for one of the main habitats of the cheetahs in Iran, the Bafq Protected Area, which is seriously threatened due to the construction of a short-cut road through the area's core zone.

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