Cheetahs On The Run

LAURIE MARKER

Thousands of years ago, nothing could stop the cheetah. The sleek, spotted cat ranged throughout Africa--from the Cape to Cairo--and into Southern Asia. Egyptian pharaohs paraded them as pets and relied on their speed--they can reach 60 m.p.h. (96 km/h)--in royal hunts.

In recent times, however, the cheetah has not been able to outrun its own vulnerability. Its lifestyle requires large expanses of land where prey is abundant. As farmers and ranchers began to transform the African landscape, the cheetah population, which reproduces slowly under the best of conditions, began to suffer. Forever on the move in search of food, the...

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