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Cheetah love: a race for survival

With only 10,000 cheetah's left, one woman is determined to make sure the species survives. The dedication goes both ways, as one cheetah got Riana through breast cancer.

TAGS: Africa Zoom In Cancer South Africa Rated-G Rated-U Cheetah Cheetah Experience Bloemfontein Cancer Survivor

Current estimates of the number of cheetahs in the wild are 'guesswork', researchers including those from India have found, amid fears that the fastest land mammal is racing to extinction.

A new study has found that the population in the cheetah stronghold of Maasai Mara, Kenya, is lower than previously thought. In the early 1900s it was believed that around 100,000 cheetahs roamed the Earth. The most recent estimate by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) puts the figure at 6,600 - mainly in eastern and southern Africa.

However, a team of scientists from the Kenya Wildlife Trust's Mara Cheetah Project, the University of Oxford in the UK and the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata said this number is simply a guess, given the difficulty of counting cheetahs accurately. The researchers have now developed a new method to accurately count cheetahs, which in time will help determine
the magnitude of the threats they face and assess potential conservation interventions.