International Cheetah Day commemorated in TehranDec 7, 2015
The Asiatic Cheetah is a critically-endangered species.
Today it survives only in Iran.
More than 15 years ago, Iran’s Department of Environment, UNDP – together with a number of dedicated and committed national and international partners – joined forces to reverse the decline of this endangered species and save it from extinction.
Every year, on 4 December the world celebrates International Cheetah Day – a day dedicated to raising awareness about the world’s fastest land animal.
This year, the day was commemorated in Iran on 6 December at Pardisan Park – a park to which a male and a female Asiatic Cheetah were transported one year ago in an effort to encourage offspring.
Vice-President and Head of Department of Environment, Madam Ebtekar. She was joined by the heroic guardians of the Asiatic Cheetahs – namely the game-guards, and the media.
Also present, representing the UN agency which has contributed to saving the Asiatic cheetah during the past decade, were UNDP Resident Representative, Gary Lewis and UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Balasubramaniam Murali.
The group walked through the Pardisan Park towards the habitat of “Delbar” – the female Asiatic Cheetah – and “Kooshki” – the male.
Talking to the media, Madam Ebtekar said: “Our most important goal is to protect the habitat of the Asiatic Cheetah, all across the country. The Asiatic Cheetah is a national symbol for us and we will do anything in our power to preserve and protect it.”
She added: “As a result of our efforts and joint venture with UNDP and other partners, I am pleased to announce that recently we have observed 18 new Asiatic Cheetah cubs in protected areas via camera-traps. This is good news and we hope that the number will keep rising. This has been due the efforts of the local community, the partners working together for the cheetah project, and most importantly the efforts of our game-guards.”
Mr. Lewis also shared his thoughts with the media and said: “For more than 10 years, UNDP and the Department of Environment have been working together to protect the Asiatic Cheetah. In this regards we empowered the local community in the protected areas, as well as trainings for the game-guards, and research.”
“As a result of our joint efforts we have been able to put a stop to the extinction trend of the Asiatic Cheetah, and in fact reverse its destiny. The UNDP stands ready to continue to support the efforts of the Government of Iran to save the Asiatic Cheetah in its last habitats” said Mr. Lewis.
Mr. Murali said: “Iran is the only country in the entire Asian region where the Asiatic Cheetah is still alive. So we consider our project with the Department of Environment as a very important conservation activity to keep this species alive.”
He added: “The project is not only about preserving the Asiatic Cheetah. The project looks at several other issues. For example, it also looks at developing models which can eventually be used in conserving other species”.
In the final segment of the programme, the game-guards were given awards for their efforts in protecting this endangered species.