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Cheetah sighting reported in Kazakhstan

23/07/2012 10:48:53

Cheetah are still present in Iran, where 60-70 still hang on. Photo credit DOE/CACP/UNDP/WCS

Are cheetah hanging on around the Aral Sea?
July 2012. Some Russian travellers have recently claimed to have seen a cheetah near the Aral Sea in Kazakhstan. The Russians were driving near the Aral Sea when they spotted what they believe was a cheetah. The animal was apparently filmed on a mobile phone (We have not managed to find the people involved or the clip), and they also filmed the tracks the animal made.

It is believed that cheetah became extinct in the area over 100 years ago, and perhaps 40-50 years ago in neighbouring Turkmenistan. The only Asiatic cheetahs known to still exist live in Iran, (Read about cheetah in Iran) where it is thought some 60-70 cheetah still live. It is possible that 1-2 might migrate into Turkmenistan but unlikely that they would travel all the way to the Aral Sea. Thus, if the sighting was confirmed, it would imply that a small population have somehow managed to cling on in the wilderness of the Aral Sea. 


(it's a big if)

See the original report on a Kazakh website

Read the comments about this article and leave your own comment

So Exciting, Will There Be More Of The Asiatic Cheetah

It is so exciting that the Asiatic cheetah has been sighted in Kazakhstan. I have not been this excited, since cheetahs populations were confirmed in Mali. So uplifting, since the Supreme Court of India struck down the reintroduction of African cheetah into India. The only thing I wonder is that cheetahs are far ranging predators. In Africa, they are so because of competition with lions. Where the Asiatic cheetah is at, there is no large predator to compete with. So was it human disturbances that drove them from northeastern Iran up into Kazakhstan?

Posted by: Tim Upham | 27 Jul 2012 21:39:55

Great news,

That is really great news. I would rather suggest, that the animal migrated from the Iran or perhaps from Turkmenistan. The Iranian border is about 1000 km from Lake Aral, which is a lot. But that it traveled this long distance sounds more likely to me, than an unknown survival of a cheetah population for over hundred years. Long distances of several hundred km have been reported also for other big cats, like tigers in the past.

Therefore I think it indicates a first spreading of the Asiatic cheetah into new areas in Western Asia north of Iran, which would really good news.

Posted by: Jochen Ackermann | 23 Jul 2012 13:23:37

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