Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) may be the world's fastest land mammal 64 mph, but that hasn't helped them escape their worst enemy: humans. The big cats have been hunted to extinction in 15 countries, and their remaining African and Asian populations currently face genetic weaknesses, such as low sperm counts and deformed tails, because of inbreeding.. The animal, charismatic in its own right, therefore, also has a very special significance for the national conservation ethic and ethos. Prior to the 20th century, cheetahs were widely distributed throughout Africa and Asia. Today, the Asian cheetah is nearly extinct, due to a decline of available habitat and prey. The species was declared extinct in India in 1952. The reintroduction of cheetah in India , important in itself, would have equally important conservation ramifications. In saving it one would have to save not only its prey-base comprising certain threatened species, but also other endangered species of the grasslands, some of which are on the brink of extinction.