It’s the world’s fastest animal reaching speeds of 120 km (70 miles) per hour. The cheetah is beautiful, graceful, magnificent and very endangered. It is the most endangered cat in Africa and the Cheetah Conservation Fund is working to change that. Today is the second annual International Cheetah Day.

Cheetah Gaze in kenya

Cheetah Spotting

We just saw our first cheetah in the wild on our Kenya Safari last week and they are a majestic and beautiful animal. My jaw literally dropped when we pulled up beside a rock on the African Savannah and witnessed a cheetah basking in the late day sun. The cheetah lives a difficult life. It isn’t the strongest of cats so it has to be smart and sly when hunting to survive.

Cheetah Threats

Cheetahs have a 50% chance of losing their kill to other predators due to the fact that they used up all their energy hunting for it. Running  120 km per hour takes its toll on their body causing them to overheat. Immediately after catching it’s prey, it has to drag it away to a more hidden environment to be eaten. While it cools down, it can’t fend off other predators so it is very vulnerable and instead of risking injury, it will give up its kill to anything.

Cheetah in the Masai Mara, Kenya

However, predators and food are not the Cheetahs biggest threat. As usual, it is man that is decimating the population. As human development encroaches on its environment and farmers kill cheetahs who are a threat to their livestock, the time for the cheetah is running out. It is heartbreaking to think that this incredible species which has survived millions of years, (it is the oldest living cat species) is facing extinction within 20 years if something isn’t done to save it.

Cheetah running in the masai mara

International Cheetah Day

When we heard that it was International Cheetah Day today, we had to help to spread the word. I know that we already posted our free leopard wallpaper for you to download today, but we felt that it was important to get the word out about the plight of the cheetah so Dave put together this beautiful collection of photos for you to enjoy. Don’t worry though, we’re still sticking to our schedule and we have three more days of free wallpaper giveaways including a sho.

To learn more about the cheetah’s plight and to see how you can help, visit the Conservation Fund Cheetah.org and for those on facebook, like their Facebook page to join the conversation. Read more about International Cheetah Day at the Huffington Post written by founder Dr. Laurie Marker.

To download photos of the Africa Big 5 got to our previous posts from the week and stay tuned for more on Africa to come! Including your very own photo download of a cheetah. 

Leopard Free Wallpaper photo download
The Lion King
Cape Buffalo Photo Giveaway
We were sent to Kenya with Expedia.com to search for the Big 5. Expedia held a poll on their Facebook page and the fans spoke, they wanted to see ThePlanetD on Safari. Stay tuned for more #ExpediaThePlanetD in Kenya and follow along on Twitter.

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18 Comments

  1. Sara

    These are incredible photos of such a graceful animal – thanks for sharing them, and the message that they need to be protected. My daughter (Chloe, 8) is an avid animal fan, and is currently trying to raise awareness of the plight of the endangered big cats (tigers in particular, although she told me her second favourite is the cheetah.)

    1. debndave Post author

      That is wonderful Sara. Yes, I think the tigers are the most endangered cat out there. I’m not an expert, but I think that the cheetah is second most endangered. So sad, these animals are so majestic and beautiful. It is wonderful that children are getting involved at a young age. It is their generation that will truly make change.

  2. Dean

    They are beautiful animals aren’t they? You got some great shots! I was lucky enough to see a cheetah with three cubs in Serengeti, Tanzania. It was a wonderful moment.

    1. debndave Post author

      That is amazing Dean. I would be awesome to see some cubs. They are so cute. We haven’t been on safari in Tanzania yet, but definitely want to visit the Serengeti.

    1. debndave Post author

      You are so right. When you see them, they seem so harmless, like you could almost step out of the truck and give them a snuggle. And then you remember…these guys are fierce!

  3. Tom @ Waegook Tom

    Great post, guys. I had NO idea the cheetah was endangered. Usually, it’s the likes of polar bears, rhinos, tigers and elephants that are talked about, but not cheetahs. I hope something is done to save them. It’s sad to think of all the animals that risk becoming extinct in my lifetime.

  4. sharad @ tiger safari india

    Oh yes, endangered they have been for long now! This is mostly because the cubs have a high mortality rate coupled with the decline in pray and loss of habitat.

    Amazing pictures by the way. These beasts were coming out of the screen here! :D

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  6. Eric

    Living in an area where we think coyotes, red fox and deer are true wildlife, this was a real eye-opener! The photos are beautiful and I did not know that about the cheetahs being an endangered species. Just wondering, how close were you to the cheetahs? Did it take a while to capture these photos? Although obviously not the case, the photos make it look like you were, well, side-by-side to this stunning animal!

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