A Cheetah’s Journey Through Climate Change
From household pets to zoo visits, cats are a familiar obsession for most people. The cheetah is a fascinating, speedy animal with five subspecies. Slim and muscular, it has a small and round head crowning a long neck which extends from a deep chest, flexible spine, long tail, and feet padded for speed. Its claws don’t retract, acting similar to soccer player’s cleats by providing extra traction. This lithe, long, and lovely creature inspires children to run around playgrounds, yelling, “I’m a cheetah!”
Despite this cat’s legendary speed, it cannot save itself from changes in the climate, human habitation, and the illegal trade. Since 1975, the number of cheetahs has significantly dropped from 14,000 to about 7,000. If this trend continues, the cheetah will soon be extinct.
As carbon emissions continue to rise, days are becoming hotter with longer periods of drought. Cheetahs already live in a hot climate. So a rise in temperature will make these areas unsuitable for many plants and creatures, essentially killing the food chain.
Cheetahs mainly live in Southern and Eastern Africa. Although in the past they lived in other parts of Africa and Asia, cheetahs now only live in about six countries in Africa. Surprisingly, as few as 50 cheetahs still inhabit a small pocket of Iran as well.
Although the cheetah is fast, it does not always catch its prey. Cheetahs hunt small antelopes, gazelles, impalas, small mammals, and birds. Its tactic for hunting is to get as close to its prey as possible before sprinting in for the kill. Although a cheetah can reach speeds of 60-75 miles per hour, it overheats within a couple hundred meters. The Cheetah also must eat its prey quickly or risk having it stolen by lions, hyenas, jackals, vultures, or leopards.
Cheetahs tend to exist as nomads, moving from place to place alone. While some related male cheetahs might create a coalition, females prefer solitude. On rare occasions, generally mating season, male cheetahs will live alongside the female. Due to the rise in climate, reproduction has been influenced by male cheetahs having lower testosterone levels and lower sperm count.
As the climate changes and the human population takes over more land, cheetahs are losing more of their habitat and their food sources. Moreover, the conflict between wildlife and humanity continues, as farmers kill cheetahs that attack their livestock for food. Illegal trade of cheetahs also challenges the survival of this big cat with live cheetahs being caught and traded into the pet trade or used for their skin. While all of these threaten the survival of the cheetah, it’s climate change that could completely eradicate the cheetah’s habitat.
Finding solutions to negate the environmental impact can be one way to help turn the tide for the cheetah population. On an individual and community level, we need to take steps to protect the environment. This change must be global. Therefore, manufacturers must determine how to make their footprint smaller by supporting smarter, greener, and more efficient factories that prioritize waste reduction, runoff, pollution, and environmental exploitation.
Golden Arrow commits to being a role model for green manufacturing, sustainable harvesting, and recycling practices. Our company strives to be “green” at every stage of the industrial packaging game, and our commitment to helping protect remarkable species like cheetahs and penguins from the effects of climate change – in our own little way – is the driving force behind our business model, mission, and values.