Save the Cheetah
Like most big cats, cheetahs are in big trouble. A 2008 United Nations report blamed habitat loss and degradation, urban development, and hunting for the sad reality that current cheetah population levels stand at 10% of their historic highs. At the beginning of the 20th century, perhaps as many as hundreds of thousands of cheetahs lived throughout most of Africa, western Asia, and India. As HowStuffWorks.com explains, this is no longer the case: "The cheetah disappeared from India in the 1940's, and by the 1970's, fewer than 200 survived in Iran, probably the cat's last Asian stronghold ... Estimates of the current African cheetah population range from a low of 5,000 to highs of 15,000 to 25,000. Another 1,000 cheetahs live in captivity around the world, some 300 of them in North America."
Besides the insidious threat of habitat loss, cheetahs are often directly killed by humans - either for their fur or to protect livestock. Much as American ranchers perceive wolves and mountain lions as pests, African farmers routinely shoot cheetahs perceived to threaten the animal they are fattening for the kill. So, yet again, an excellent first step to addressing an important issue problem is to start with what we eat, e.g. making a shift from a meat-based diet.
Beyond that simple, crucial step, activists are also urged to get involved with existing efforts to save the cheetah or perhaps, partake in some more direct action.
I don't want to live on a planet without cheetahs. Do you?