are the third largest cats in Africa after lions
They are by far the fastest land mammals in the world, capable of accelerating from zero to 100kph or 62mph in less than three seconds and with a maximum speed of 120kph or 75mph over short distances.
But the cost such specialisation is high. They have relatively small brains, they are ill-equipped to defend themselves against other predators and any slight injury which prevents them from reaching such high speeds can ultimately be fatal.
Of the three main feline predators in Africa, it is cheetahs who are under the greatest threat. Apart from the usual reasons ... loss of habitat, conflict with domestic herding, spread of disease from domestic animals, poaching ... cheetahs suffer severe pressure from other predators within the conservation areas themselves.
Cheetahs are highly tuned athletes, built for speed. Even a small injury can severely restrict their ability to hunt and can lead to starvation. As a result cheetahs are not able to defend their catches from other predators, nor can they drag it up a tree like leopards do. Instead they are obliged to hunt, kill and then eat as fast as they can before the scavengers arrive on the scene. This means that predator-rich environments are not good for cheetahs, with the result that many of Africa's finest parks are noticeably deficient.
Cheetahs are now rare in the wild due to habitat loss and competition from other top predators, but can still be found quite reliably in certain locations ...The best locations for cheetahs in TanzaniaThe best locations for cheetahs in KenyaThe best locations for cheetahs in ZambiaThe best locations for cheetahs in BotswanaThe best locations for cheetahs in South AfricaThe best locations for cheetahs in Namibia