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In 1995 Dr. Hormoz Asadi decided something had to be done and organized the Asiatic Cheetah Conservation Project, ACCP. The ACCP was originally an agreement to protect, track, research save last remaining Asiatic cheetahs in cooperation with the Iranian government and the United Nations. Dr. Asadi also taught the first-ever and teach wildlife conservation classes at Tehran Azad University, after having conducted extensive research on the rare cats for his own dissertation. 

By 2006, Hormoz Asadi had managed to do what nobody else had done since the Islamic Revolution of Iran –form the first ever international agreement between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the UNEP, teach wildlife conservation and give students the chance to work with Asiatic cheetahs, as well as other endangered species such as Persian leopards, Caspian seals and Persian Fallow deer. Therefore, the Vice President of Iran, Dr. Massoumeh Ebtekar, asked Dr. Asadi to serve on the board of advisors for the government of Iran for wildlife conservation. However, Dr. Asadi’s decade or so of progress in wildlife conservation in Iran, ended abruptly when in 2008 he lost his life in a work-related car accident. 



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Once Dr. Hormoz Aadi estimated there were about 100 Asiatic cheetahs that remain in Central Asia, and only in Iran (Asadi, 1997). However, today, cheetah conservation is at a critical point in Iran, because there are now less than 50 cheetahs remaining in the wild. Making matters worse only about 3 out of 10 cheetah cubs survive to adulthood. This is only when and if the female cheetah can become pregnant.  


Due to a lack of genetic diversity in both the African and Central Asian region, cheetahs are facing extinction and are all about 97% similar genetically, according to scientists. Sadly, out of those that survive, local village dogs, encroaching highways, habitat loss and international politics are actively working against the cheetah’s survival in Iran.

Furthermore, cheetah trafficking, poaching and illegal trade is still a problem. In 2020 alone, more than 300 cubs were reported in illegal trade incidents - with  less than 20% being rescued (Trichorache, 2021). That means that about 300 cubs - per year -  will not be able to contribute to the repopulating of their already extremely vulnerable species. Instead of roaming free, and maintaining a balanced ecosystem, the fastest land mammals in the world are being confined to zoos, where they do not breed, or are being leashed to the arm of a rich, eccentric owner of big cats. At best, those poor cheetahs spend their days as a prop in Instagram posts. Meanwhile,  their species are being destroyed by poachers, loss of habitat, angry farmers, village dgis, and in Iran, there are the added factors of global trade sanctions that restrict the medicines and equipment needed for wildlife conservationists to be able to help the Asiatic cheetahs survive.

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Today, people are risking their lives to save Asiatic cheetahs. Overall, there are a mere 7,000 cheetahs left in the wild of both Africa and Iran, down from 100,000 a century ago. These numbers are diminishing quickly, and breeding cheetahs in captivity has proven very difficult. On May 1st, 2022, history was made when a litter of three cheetah cubs were born in captivity in Iran. Sadly two died within the first two months of life. The third, a male by the name of "Pirooz," which means "victory" in the Persian language (Farsi) lives in Turan National Park in Iran. However, due to political instability in Iran, and factors such as international sanctions, which made it impossible to obtain medicines or biological materials from abroad, the fate of this lone male cheetah cub is uncertain. Overall, responses to saving cheetahs, especially the rare Asiatic cheetah species,  have proven to be inadequate. That makes every cheetah cub born in critical to the survival of the species. 

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