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These bottlenecks may have been associated with migrations across Asia and into Africa (with the current African population founded about 12,000 years ago), and/or with a depletion of prey species at the end of the Pleistocene.Extinct North American cats resembling the cheetah had historically been assigned to Felis, Puma or Acinonyx.Cheetah cubs face higher mortality than most other mammals, especially in the Serengeti region.Cheetahs inhabit a variety of habitats – dry forests, scrub forests and savannahs.Classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the cheetah has suffered a substantial decline in its historic range due to rampant hunting in the 20th century.Several African countries have taken steps to improve the standards of cheetah conservation.It belongs to Felinae, the subfamily of Felidae that also includes lynxes, wildcats, and the puma.
Typically yellowish tan or rufous to greyish white, the coat is uniformly covered with nearly 2,000 solid black spots.(Acinonyx jubatus) is a large felid of the subfamily Felinae that occurs mainly in eastern and southern Africa and a few parts of Iran. The only extant member of the genus Acinonyx, the cheetah was formally described by Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber in 1775.The cheetah is characterised by a slender body, deep chest, spotted coat, small rounded head, black tear-like streaks on the face, long thin legs and long spotted tail.By late 2016-early 2017, the cheetah's global population had fallen to approximately 7,100 individuals in the wild due to habitat loss, poaching, the illegal pet trade, and conflict with humans, with researchers suggesting that the animal be immediately reclassified as "Endangered" on the IUCN Red List.The vernacular name "cheetah" is derived from the Hindi word चीता (cītā), which in turn comes from the Sanskrit word चित्रकायः (citrakāyaḥ) meaning "bright" or "variegated".