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International Cheetah Day. Photo: International Cheetah Day

The world's fastest land animal is racing against extinction. Over the past 100 years, the world has lost more than 90% of cheetahs. International Cheetah Day, December 4, is a chance to promote the importance of cheetahs and their conservation. Many people are now trying to show their support by social media activities, according to Tehran Times.

History of International Cheetah Day

As founder of the Cheetah Conservation Fund, Dr. Laurie Marker chose to commemorate Khayam, a cheetah she raised at the Wildlife Safari she ran in Oregon, by establishing December 4th as International Cheetah Day in his memory.

Khayam served as part of an important experiment determining whether or not captive Cheetahs can be taught to hunt and live in the wild on their own again. After a trip to Namibia, the experiment was proven successful, though she and Khayam returned home after observing local hunters eliminating wild cheetahs as a threat to their livelihood.

Driven by this encounter she moved to Namibia to help heal the rift between farmers and the majestic cheetah and founded the CCF in 1990. Cheetahs are incredible animals, being the fastest land mammal in the wild today, as reported by Days of the Year.

There are only 8,000 of these creatures left in the wild today, a number that leaves them as Africa’s most endangered feline. Cheetah’s hold their position as world’s fastest land mammal thanks to some tricks of evolution that have perfectly adapted them for high speed.

Their full running speed is so fast that their feet only touch the ground once every 6-7 meters, and their muscular tail helps to steer them like a rudder at these high speeds. Needless to say, once a cheetah has prey in their sites, there’s no running away.

How To celebrate International Cheetah Day

First, learn all you can about these amazing animals by watching documentaries or attending one of the functions held on International Cheetah Day at your local zoo.

Once you’ve developed a new (or growing!) appreciation for these high-speed mammals, you can start finding ways to help with their conservation. If your local zoo doesn’t have an International Cheetah Day celebration contact them and see what can be done to arrange one, even volunteering to help run it if the need be.

The cheetah is known for being incredibly fast, but with your help, we can slow down its extinction.

Be sure to show your support on social media for International Cheetah Day:

  • Use the #IntCheetahDay and #SaveTheCheetah hashtags.

  • Join the International Cheetah Day twitterstorm.

  • Instagram pics to share and Facebook Frame.

There are fewer than 7,100 cheetahs left in the wild

The Cheetah Conservation Fund reports that cheetahs are currently found in only nine percent of their historic range. They are now extinct in their Asian range except for a small population in Iran of about 50 individuals. These amazing cats once ranged across the entire African continent (except for the Congo Basin), and into Asia from the Arabian Peninsula to eastern India, as said by The

Cheetahs are disappearing rapidly due to the all-too-common deadly trifecta of human-caused reasons:

- Habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation

- Human-wildlife conflict

- Illegal wildlife trade

You can help cheetahs by celebrating International Cheetah Day!

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