January 5, 2024
Reclassification Appeal: Northeast African Cheetah
A plea has been made by a panel of experts urging the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to reconsider the categorization of the Northeast African Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus soemmeringii) from its current status of ‘vulnerable’ to the more critical label of ‘endangered’.
Insights into the Northeast African Cheetah:
- This subspecies primarily inhabits the Horn of Africa and is commonly referred to as the Sudan cheetah. Scientifically linked closer to the Southern African cheetah rather than the Saharan cheetah populations, it retains distinct characteristics.
- Physical Attributes: Similar in size to its southern counterpart, the Northeast African cheetah closely resembles the East African cheetah in appearance.
- Habitat: These cheetahs are recorded in contemporary times within regions of South Sudan and Ethiopia. Their habitat of choice comprises expansive open terrains like grasslands, semi-arid zones, and other open landscapes where prey populations thrive, notably in the East Sudanian Savanna.
Distinct Threats and Challenges:
- The survival of this subspecies is imperiled due to a significant threat – the illegal trafficking of its cubs across the Red Sea. Trafficking activities, directed mainly towards Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen, pose a severe menace to the Northeast African cheetah population.
Conservation Status Reassessment:
- Presently labeled as ‘vulnerable’ by the IUCN, this appeal seeks a critical reassessment of the Northeast African Cheetah’s status to ‘endangered’. This call for reclassification emphasizes the urgent need for heightened conservation efforts to safeguard this unique subspecies from further decline and potential extinction.