There was nothing that veterinarians could do to keep the last of three cheetah cubs, born seemingly under a bad sign last year, from passing.
Pirouz, his name meaning “victor” in Farsi, died of kidney failure in a Tehran veterinary hospital yesterday. Born in a wildlife sanctuary to a father-mother pairing that was hoped to be a good match, Pirouz and his two siblings came into the world on April 30th via Caesarian section, but were rejected by their mother.
One died soon after, the second died 2 weeks later while cheetah specialists from Africa were flown in to assist the veterinary staff, who Al Jazeera reported were untrained in taking care of the animals.
“I apologise to the people on behalf of myself and all my colleagues because we couldn’t keep Pirouz alive,” said Amir Moradi, the head of the hospital, in a video message.
However, hope is not all lost. Despite the Asiatic cheetah being perhaps the most endangered cat on Earth that is also confirmed to still exist, two cubs were found by a shepherd in the gargantuan 14,000-square-kilometer Touran Wildlife Refuge, and Pirouz’s mother is also pregnant again.
Iran is the only country where Asiatic cheetahs are confirmed to survive in. The slightly smaller sub-species of the famous sprinting cat of Africa used to roam from that continent all the way across the Middle East to the plains of India. Today there may be as few as 15 or as many as a few dozen.
Reporting on the arrest and imprisonment of 9 Iranian wildlife biologists who were trying to camera trap cheetahs, WaL reached out to the authors of a report published in the Cambridge University Press that detailed the insufficient efforts by the Iranian government to protect the cheetah from simple threats like shepherd dogs and traffic collisions.
”Iran’s Department of the Environment has not taken any steps to increase cheetah conservation efforts,” an author told WaL at the time. “Unfortunately, there is only one thing the authorities do nowadays: they just talk about the issue and do nothing at all”. WaL
PICTURED ABOVE: Pirouz the cheetah, in January 2023. PC: Fars Media Corporation CC 4.0.