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Northeast African Cheetah: A Unique Subspecies


A group of experts have appealed to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to reclassify the status of the Northeast African Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus soemmeringii) to ‘endangered’ from ‘vulnerable’.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Northeast African Cheetah: A Unique Subspecies

Geographical Presence:

  • Found in the Horn of Africa.
  • Also referred to as the Sudan cheetah.

Genetic Relations:

  • More closely related to the Southern African cheetah than to Saharan cheetah populations.

Distinctive Features:

  • Possesses a long tail aiding in balance during rapid changes in direction.
  • Agile, capable of making sharp turns, even up to 90 degrees, while sprinting.

Physical Characteristics:

  • Fairly large in size.
  • Physically resembles the East African cheetah.

Habitat and Distribution:

  • Contemporary records indicate presence in South Sudan and Ethiopia.
  • Inhabits open landscapes, grasslands, semi-arid areas, and other open habitats with abundant prey, such as the East Sudanian Savanna.


  • Cubs of this subspecies are subjected to heavy trafficking across the Red Sea to Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

Conservation Status:

  • IUCN: Vulnerable.

-Source: The Hindu

February 2024