An Asiatic cheetah cub died of kidney failure in a veterinary hospital in Iran on Tuesday, news agency IRNA reported. Pirouz was the last of three Asiatic cheetah cubs born in captivity to survive.
“Pirouz, who was admitted to the Central Veterinary Hospital due to kidney failure last Thursday, died after undergoing dialysis,” the IRNA, the official news agency in Iran, said. The cubs were born in May 2022; one died at only a few days old, and the other in the same month.
“The loss of Pirouz and failure of all the efforts made by the veterinary team in the past few days to save the animal saddens all my colleagues and me,” Omid Moradi, the director of the hospital, told IRNA. “We apologise to everyone that we could not keep this animal alive.”
Since he was the only one to survive at Touran Wildlife Refuge in Semnan province, Pirouz became a source of national pride. His name means meaning victorious in Persian.
In January 2022, deputy environment minister Hassan Akbari said less than fifteen Asiatic cheetahs are left in Iran -down from around 100 in 2010. Iran’s environment department hoped the birth of the three cubs in captivity would help increase the cheetah population.
Asiatic cheetahs have a distinctive appearance, with a lean, muscular build, spotted coat, and black tear marks running down their face.
They are adapted to their desert habitat, with large nostrils to help them breathe in the hot, dry air, and long legs and a flexible spine to help them reach high speeds and make sharp turns while hunting.
The decline of the Asiatic cheetah population is primarily due to habitat loss, prey reduction, and poaching. Iran made efforts to conserve the remaining individuals, including establishing protected areas, monitoring programs, and breeding programs in captivity.