The last survivor of three critically endangered Asiatic cheetahs born in captivity in Iran died in hospital on Tuesday of kidney failure, state media reported. “Pirouz, who was admitted to the Central Animal Hospital last Thursday due to kidney failure, has died after undergoing dialysis,” the official IRNA news agency said.
“The loss of Pirouz and the ineffectiveness of all efforts made by the treatment team to save the animal in recent days saddens me and all my colleagues. We apologize to everyone that we were unable to keep this animal alive,” says hospital director Omid. Moradi told IRNA.
Pirouz, which means “victorious” in Persian, had become a source of national pride since his birth in May last year in a nature reserve in northeastern Iran.
Two other cubs born with him died that same month, but Pirouz survived at a time when only a dozen members of the species remain in the wild.
The Asiatic cheetah — Acinonyx jubatus venaticus — is threatened with “dangerous continued decline” and is critically endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
According to a 2017 study referenced by the IUCN, the subspecies is restricted only to Iran, where there were “fewer than 50 mature individuals”.
The world’s fastest land animal, capable of reaching speeds of 120 km (74 miles) per hour, cheetahs once stormed habitats from the eastern reaches of India to Senegal’s Atlantic coast.
They are still found in parts of southern Africa, but have practically disappeared from North Africa and Asia.
Iran began a United Nations-backed cheetah conservation program in 2001.
In January 2022, Deputy Environment Minister Hassan Akbari said Iran is home to only a dozen Asiatic cheetahs — up from an estimated 100 in 2010.
Iran’s environment department had hoped that the captive birth of the cubs would boost the cheetah population.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is being published from a syndicated feed.)
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