A Race to Survive

February 24, 2017
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The race is on to help the fast cats.

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The cheetah is the world’s fastest land animal. But the cat could be racing toward extinction. A new study has bad news. It says only about 7, 100 cheetahs are left in the wild.

There are many reasons for the drop in cheetah numbers. The study found that cheetahs have been forced out of 91% of their range. Cheetahs are mostly found in Africa. In Asia, there are fewer than 50 cheetahs left.

Loss of prey is another reason for the drop. Humans have overhunted the animals cheetahs eat.

This cheetah family lives in Africa. Young cheetahs are called cubs.

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Sarah Durant helped write the study. She hopes the information will lead to a better understanding of cheetahs. The study calls for a change in how cheetahs are protected. She says the cats should be listed as endangered.

Having “protected areas is not enough,” says Kim Overton-Young. She also worked on the study. “We must think bigger.”

Think!

What can people do to help animals that are in danger?

Built for Speed

The cheetah has many features that help it live in the wild. Read about those features. Then answer the questions below.

ILLUSTRATIONS BY DREW WILLIS FOR TIME FOR KIDS

1. What features help a cheetah take big steps?

2. True or false: A cheetah’s claws are always out.

3. What feature helps balance a cheetah?

4. What is special about a cheetah’s head?