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Last surviving critically endangered cheetah cub born last year in Iran dies

All three Asiatic cheetah cubs born in May in Iran have since died. Photo courtesy of Iran's Department of Environment
All three Asiatic cheetah cubs born in May in Iran have since died. Photo courtesy of Iran's Department of Environment

Feb. 28 (UPI) -- The last surviving Asiatic cheetah of a litter born last year in Iran has died, state-run media reported Tuesday.

Pirouz died Tuesday of kidney complications, Amir Moradi, head of Iran's Central Veterinary Hospital, said, according to Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency.

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The 10-month-old cub died in the hospital where it had been for the past five days, during which time it underwent unsuccessful dialysis, Moradi said.

Pirouz was one of three Asiatic cheetahs born at the Iranian Cheetah Breeding Center in May.

Iran's Department of Environment had announced the birth of the litter of three cats in a statement that referred to them as "the children of Iran."

The Iranian Cheetah Society said the cubs were born via Cesearean section. Two of them died within weeks of their birth, leaving Pirouz the lone survivor of the litter.

The Asiatic cheetah is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as critically endangered, meaning it faces an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.

The IUCN has said Iran remains the animal's last stronghold with fewer than 40 believed to be alive in the country.

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At the time of the litter's birth, Department of Environment officials said that fewer than 20 cheetah cubs had been sighted in the seven Iranian provinces that act as their main habitat.

Iranian-American historian and author Nina Ansary mourned the cub's death online, which she blamed on the regime of the country's spiritual leader, Ali Khamenei.

"No words. Only tears," she tweeted. "A symbol of hope for Iranians, the Islamic Republic is responsible for the death of this endangered Asiatic cheetah. A corrupt regime that spends millions on terrorism but won't spend money to save this beloved cub from kidney failure."

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