A young, unsuspecting cheetah was attacked and dragged into the water by a hungry crocodile in some incredible footage captured recently during a live safari stream.
[Warning: Not for sensitive viewers]
The surprising moment began when the cheetah cub approached the waterhole to get a drink, but little did it know that a crocodile was lying in wait, ready to attack. And attack it did, as the other cheetahs watched helplessly from afar.
“This is the very sad, sad part,” Phinda Private Game Reserve naturalist Busani Mtshali tells the audience on a broadcast for WildEarth TV.
Watch the full video:
While crocodiles are clearly a threat to cheetahs, this cat as a species is facing greater, even existential, threats.
The world’s fastest mammal is now headed towards extinction mainly due to human conflict and the fact that their range extends well outside protected areas.
Image: CC0 public domain
The pet trade is also a significant problem; Because of the rising demand for the “luxury” pets in the Middle East, cubs are taken from their mothers and are shipped by the dozens to the Gulf states. It’s estimated that two-thirds of them die in transit.
Cheetahs are also heavily traded for their skins and coats — cheetah skin shoes are a popular high-end item in Sudan.
Understandably, scientists are now calling for the uplisting from ‘Vulnerable’ to ‘Endangered’ to give the irreplaceable animal additional protection and funding.
“Given the secretive nature of this elusive cat, it has been difficult to gather hard information on the species, leading to its plight being overlooked,” Sarah Durant of Zoological society of London (ZSL), stated in a Panthera press release. “Our findings show that the large space requirements for cheetah, coupled with the complex range of threats faced by the species in the wild, mean that it is likely to be much more vulnerable to extinction than was previously thought.”
It’s clear that this extraordinary species is desperately in need of protection. To explore different ways to help cheetahs, visit Panthera.