The Persian cheetah

This article is also available in: Italiano

The Persian cheetah is one of the felines most closely linked to the imagination of Iran and India, a place where, under the Mughals, it became the favorite animal with which to hunt

The Asian cheetah

The Asian cheetah, also known as the Persian cheetah, is one of the most extraordinary creatures to have populated Asia and Persia, unfortunately today increasingly threatened by man due to indiscriminate hunting and destruction of its habitat. When adult it reaches about 124 cm of length, tail excluded, with an average weight of 44 kg; decidedly smaller measures compared to tigers and lions, but this favors its best known peculiarity: speed.


Like its African cousin, in fact, it can even reach 112 km / h making it, by detachment, the fastest land animal ever. The predation system is very particular which, unlike the aforementioned “feline colleagues”, does not end with the capture but also continues during the meal. The cheetah, in fact, silently approaches a hundred meters from the prey, and then overwhelms it with its burning shot; but, even while feeding, he keeps his senses at the maximum of his abilities to save himself from any competitors. Something incredibly rare in nature, so much so that for a long time it was thought that, precisely to such high stress, incredible speed was owed.

The best friend of the Mughals

As previously mentioned, the range of this noble beast has drastically reduced over the last few years, so much so that it can only survive in the wild in some protected Iranian reserves. The cheetah, however, is not so much tied to the folklore of Persia, but more to that of India, where, under the Mughal rule, it became one of the most appreciated beasts of all; even too much.


Emperor Akbar, in fact, was a great lover of this species, so much so that it seems he owned at least 1000 for his famous hunts for antelopes and gazelles. The number, according to recent studies, has been partially denied, but there is no doubt that there were many specimens at the Mughal court and that, precisely the fact that so many lived in captivity, contributed significantly to its extinction in India. The last 3 specimens of the Indian sub-continent were killed by Maharajah Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo in 1948.

The cheetah’s rebirth

Of all the animals at risk of extinction, the cheetah is fortunately one of those who have been most able to animate the common feeling. In Iran, in fact, the government has launched very strong awareness-raising policies that reached their peak in 2014. In that same year, a uniform of the local national football team was presented with the image of the majestic feline on it.


However, in the country the struggle in defense of the animal continues constantly, albeit with the additional difficulty of the heavy sanctions that complicate the life of the country considerably. Re-introduction attempts have also been started in India, all of which, however, ended with nothing.

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