Historically, the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) was widely distributed throughout Africa and Asia. And could be found in past in 38 nations of Africa. A survey found that there were about 7,000 to 23,000 cheetahs living in Africa in the early 1970s.
During the last decades, its distribution has shrunk dramatically and is currently confined to only 9% of its previous range, with an estimated 7,100 adult and juvenile individuals.
The current global cheetah population consists of 31 populations distributed in 20 countries of Africa and the Middle East. The largest populations occur in southern and eastern Africa with approximately 4,000 and 2,300 adult and juvenile cheetahs, respectively, whereas in Asia there is only one population known with as few as 50 cheetahs in Iran. In most countries, the status of the species is unknown and little data are available on population distribution or size. Namibia and Botswana are the global strongholds of the cheetah in terms of abundance and area. Namibia hosts approximately 1,500 adults and juveniles that are part of a transboundary population with Botswana.
In general, cheetah densities are low compared to other carnivores. They vary between 0.25/100 individuals per km2 and 5.0/100 individuals per km2.
Population trends are quite unknown. When they were assessed, most of them were judged to be declining. Most of the current cheetah range, i.e. 77%, lies outside of protected areas, where cheetahs potentially come into contact with people. In such areas, cheetahs are not protected from prosecution and sometimes are even allowed to be legally killed when people have some evidence that a particular cheetah has preyed upon a livestock animal. As this is often difficult to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt, many cheetahs are killed indiscriminately.
Cheetah is endangered because of habitat loss and fragmentation, a declining prey base, competition with large predators, and livestock interests that are taking a heavy toll on the wild cheetah population throughout the world.