Skip to Main Content
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance logo
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Library logo

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) Fact Sheet: Population & Conservation Status

Population Status

Global population size

  • About 7,100 individuals (Durant et al. 2017)
    • See Durant et al. (2017), Table 1, for regional/country-specific population estimates.

Historical notes

  • 1871: Rewards offered for killing cheetahs (adults and cubs) in India
  • 1900: Wild population in Asia and Africa estimated at 100,000 animals, although cheetahs in India considered rare
    • Early 20th century: cheetahs, used as coursers in hunts, had to be imported into India and Iran
  • 1947: Three males shot in India. No reliable sightings in India since. Declared extinct in 1952
  • 1956: Last sighting of cheetah in Israel
  • 1975: Sub-Saharan Africa population estimated at 15,000
  • 1994: c. 12,000 in 23 African countries, with most in southern Africa. Less than 200 estimated in Iran
  • 1996: Largest free-ranging cheetah population at 2500 (estimated) in Namibia; over 95% live outside of conservation areas and risk conflict with livestock and ranchers
  • 1997: Last reported sighting of cheetah in Egypt’s Qattara Depression
  • 1998: 40-200 Asiatic cheetah (A. jubatus venaticus) in wild (Iran). Only one known in managed care, rescued as cub in 1995.

Conservation Status

IUCN Status

  • Species-level
    • Vulnerable (2014 assessment) (Durant et al. 2015)
  • Subspecies-level
    • Some subspecies Critically Endangered (2014 assessment) (Durant et al. 2015)
      • Subspecies undergoing taxonomic review

CITES Status

  • Appendix I (UNEP 2018)
    • Live export quota and trophy hunting exceptions

Threats to Survival

Habitat destruction and fragmentation (from Durant et al. 2008)

  • Agricultural growth
  • Loss of wild prey base

Persecution by humans (from Durant et al. 2008)

  • Removal/destruction of cheetah by ranchers
    • Wire-snare poaching (wire-snares used to catch "bush meat" animals, but predators fall victim as well)

Predation of young and competition with other carnivores

  • Lions, hyenas, leopards and wild dogs
  • Carnivores and others may drive cheetah from their kills
    • Lions, hyenas, leopards, wild dogs, baboons, jackals, and vultures can drive cheetahs from their kills


Page Citations

Durant (2000a, 2005)
Jackson (1998)
Laurenson et al (1995)
Merola (1994)
Myers (1975)
Rangaranjan (1998)
Saleh et al (2001)

SDZWA Library Links