Rare Endangered Cheetahs Photographed

Researchers have captured the first images of critically-endangered cheetahs in northwest Africa using a camera-trap system set up to spy on the big cats.

(Farid Belbachir/ZSL/OPNA)

Touting the success in a news release Tuesday, the Zoological Society of London, said the incredibly rare — and notoriously hard to find — Saharan cheetah population may consist of only about 250 adult animals.

The ZSL says research like the camera-trap system, set up in conjunction with Algerian scientists from a national park, is crucial to gaining a better understanding of the animals' behaviour, and numbers.

(Farid Belbachir/ZSL/OPNA)

"The Saharan cheetah is critically endangered, yet virtually nothing is known about the population, so this new evidence, and the ongoing research work, is hugely significant," said Dr. Sarah Durant, a senior researcher on the project for ZSL.

"This is an incredibly rare and elusive subspecies of cheetah and current population estimates, which stand at less than 250 mature individuals, are based on guesswork," said Farid Belbachir, who is conducting the field work in Algeria. "This study is helping us to turn a corner in our understanding, providing us with information about population numbers, movement and ecology."
  • Tucker Reals

    Tucker Reals is the CBSNews.com foreign editor, based at the CBS News London bureau.


Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Watch Now

New Android App

For your Android phone and tablet, download the FREE redesigned app, featuring CBSN, live 24/7 news.

The all new
CBS News App for Android® for iPad® for iPhone®
Fully redesigned. Featuring CBSN, 24/7 live news. Get the App