The Asiatic cheetah is critically endangered, with the last remaining specimens of the species now living in Iran. Now another of the rare predators has died: As reported by the Iranian media, the ten-month-old cheetah named Pirus died of kidney failure. As one of the last of its kind, it was well known in Iran, and many people worried about the animal's health until the end.
Pirus was born last year in a zoo in the Iranian province of Semnan with two other cheetahs by caesarean section. The mother then rejected her boys, and Pirus' siblings died just a few days after birth. He himself was raised by animal keepers. But according to media reports, the first health problems soon arose. Most recently, his enclosure in a wildlife park in Tehran remained orphaned, instead Pirus was treated in an animal clinic for his kidney disease. He did not survive an emergency operation performed on Monday.
In addition to the great sympathy, there was also a lot of criticism on social media. "Learn from this bitter experience," wrote one environmental activist on Twitter. The criticism was directed at the authorities, which many users accused of failure.
According to Iranian authorities, there are only about a dozen Asiatic cheetahs left. Iranian environmental and animal rights activists have been warning of their extinction for years. A UN project is also committed to preserving the species. Numerous environmental activists in Iran have been sentenced to long prison terms in the past for their political activities.