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Current Affairs 2023

Cheetah - UPSC Current Affairs

The cheetah, nature's speed champion, dashes across the African plains at astonishing speeds of up to 70 mph. With its sleek physique, unique coat, and sharp eyesight, this magnificent feline is an emblem of grace and agility in the animal kingdom.

Jun 19, 2023

3 min read

Roaming the expansive grasslands of Africa, the cheetah emerges as a true marvel of the animal kingdom. With lightning speed and breathtaking agility, it reigns as the fastest mammal on land. Capable of reaching mind-boggling speeds of 60 to 70 miles per hour, the cheetah is a true sprinting champion. However, its hunting prowess lies not only in its velocity but also in its strategic restraint. While it can achieve such impressive speeds, it typically conserves its energy and pursues prey at around half that velocity.




Scientifically known as Acinonyx jubatus, these magnificent creatures belong to the feline family, making them true carnivores. With an average lifespan of up to 14 years in the wild and up to 20 years in captivity, cheetahs exemplify both grace and resilience. Standing at a body length of 3.7 to 4.6 feet, complemented by a tail length of two to 2.7 feet, they possess a slender and sleek physique. Weighing between 77 to 143 pounds, they strike a perfect balance between strength and agility.


Cheetahs' bodies are marvels of evolutionary design, specially adapted to propel them to astonishing speeds. Their long and slender limbs, along with hard foot pads, provide a solid foundation for rapid acceleration. A flexible spine enables elongated strides, allowing them to cover remarkable distances in a single bound. It is this combination of physical attributes that sets the cheetah apart as a true speedster of the animal kingdom.


But it is their distinctive coat that truly captivates the eye. Adorned in tawny hues with an abundance of black spots, each cheetah possesses a unique pattern, akin to a fingerprint, which aids in individual recognition. Striking black tear-like streaks trace their way from the inner corners of their eyes down to the sides of their mouths, accentuating their piercing gaze. Their bushy tails, tipped with black rings, serve as a visual signal of their presence. With their coat blending seamlessly with the tall, dry grass of their habitat, these camouflaged felines become elusive masters of disguise.


Eyesight plays a pivotal role in a cheetah's hunting success. Their keen vision allows them to spot prey during the daytime, as they scan the savannah with precision. The combination of exceptional speed, stealth, and sharp eyesight makes the cheetah an apex predator. However, despite their classification as formidable "big cats," cheetahs lack the ability to roar like their counterparts. Instead, they communicate through various vocalizations, including purring, hissing, and chirping.


While cheetahs primarily prefer the vast open grasslands, they exhibit adaptability to a range of habitats across eastern and southern Africa. From savannahs to arid plains, these majestic felines have found their niche. Their diet consists of small- to medium-sized animals, such as hares, impalas, wildebeest calves, and gazelles. By hunting and culling populations of these prey species, cheetahs play a crucial role in maintaining ecological balance within their ecosystems.


Tragically, the future of these incredible creatures hangs in the balance. Once found throughout Asia and Africa, cheetahs now face the daunting threat of extinction. The loss of their natural habitat and the dwindling numbers of their prey compound the challenges they confront. Urgent conservation efforts are essential to safeguard the survival of cheetahs and preserve their rightful place as one of nature's most extraordinary creations. Together, we must strive to protect these remarkable beings and secure a future where they can continue to grace the plains with their unparalleled elegance.


Image credit: Tasnim News Agency

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