Sylvie Claire / February 28, 2023
One of the world’s last Asian cheetahs died Tuesday in Iran, causing a wave of sadness among Iranians who had grown fond of the young feline born in captivity in 2022.
Pirouz, who was admitted to the Central Veterinary Hospital with kidney failure on Thursday, died after undergoing dialysis,” the official Irna agency reported.
We are very saddened by the loss of Pirouz and the failure of all efforts to save him,” reacted the head of the hospital, Dr. Omid Moradi.
The young Pirouz (“victorious” in Persian) had become a national pride since his birth in May 2022 in a shelter in eastern Iran.
This event was welcomed when only a dozen Asian cheetahs, a critically endangered species, remain in Iran, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Since his hospitalization, many Internet users had expressed their emotion on social networks. “Pirouz is the only source of happiness for the Nation”, said one of them on Twitter. Others said they feared the definitive “extinction” of the subspecies “Acinonyx jubatus venaticus”, commonly called Asian cheetah or Iranian cheetah, in case of Pirouz’s death.
The cheetah is the fastest animal in the world and can reach speeds of 120 km/h. It is still found in some parts of southern Africa, but it has virtually disappeared from North Africa and Asia.
Iran, one of the last countries in the world where Asian cheetahs live in the wild, launched a UN-backed protection program in 2001.