How much do you really know?

True or false: The cheetah is the only cat that cannot retract its claws.

True. From head to tail, and all the way down to their paws, cheetahs are built for speed. Their permanently present claws are an adaptation that helps them maintain traction when on the move, much like an athlete’s cleats.

Cheetahs can make all of the following noises except… a. Chirp b. Roar c. Growl d. Purr

B. Unlike all other big cats, cheetahs cannot roar. This is because of the hyoid bone in the cheetah’s neck. Other big cats have hyoid bones made of two pieces, which enable roaring vocalizations. The cheetah’s hyoid bone, however, is one single piece.

True or false: Cheetahs are highly successful hunters.

False. In fact, only 50 percent of cheetah hunts result in a meal. Once a cheetah spots its prey, the high-speed chase usually lasts 20–60 seconds, requiring an enormous amount of energy on behalf of the hunter.

Which designation have cheetahs been assigned by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species? a. Least Concern b. Near Threatened c. Vulnerable d. Endangered

C. With approximately 6,700 adult and adolescent cheetahs remaining across Africa and parts of Asia, IUCN has declared this species as Vulnerable on its official list of threatened species. Populations in North and West Africa have plummeted, however, warranting a Critically Endangered designation.

What is driving the decline of cheetahs in Africa? a. Human–wildlife conflict b. Habitat loss & fragmentation c. The illegal pet trade d. All of the above

D. Unfortunately, cheetahs are threatened from all sides. Expanding development and agriculture are breaking up the swaths of land cheetahs rely on to hunt. This also puts cheetahs into more frequent contact with pastoralists, who will kill the cats to protect their livestock and livelihoods. The illegal pet trade is taking its biggest toll on cheetahs in East Africa, where cubs are captured and smuggled to the Gulf States—reportedly, 70 percent of these captive cubs die as a result of this trade.

Hopefully, you now know more about cheetahs than you did before. Help us spread the word about the threats these unique cats face by encouraging your friends to take this quiz, and visit http://bit.ly/AWFcheetah to see how you can ensure their survival.

Photography by: African Wildlife Foundation Paul Runze Philip Perry Wildlife Photography Bill Gordon #conservationstory #conservation #wildlife #animals #animalkingdom #cheetah #bigcats #cats

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