Cheetahs have evolved to be some of the fastest predators on the planet. However, when humans alter the ecosystem, speed isn’t the best survival tool. In fact, the population of cheetahs has dropped significantly in the past one hundred years — there are about 10,000 cheetahs alive today, down from about 100,000 in 1900. A lot of the loss in cheetah population can be tied to climate change and habitat destruction. However, cheetahs and their hunting behaviors can also be blamed.
A huge part of this decline is that cheetahs spend too much time and energy searching for food, but not very much time protecting what they’ve already caught. Why might this be? Short answer — Cheetahs are built to rely on their speed and lack strength. Therefore, they are not well-equipped to defend their kill from other predators. They also expel a lot of energy running at high speeds to either catch their prey or run away from an even larger predator.
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