The Asiatic Cheetah is now also known as the Iranian Cheetah, as the world's last few are known to survive mostly in Iran. Although recently presumed to be extinct in India, it is also known as the Indian Cheetah. During British colonial times in India it was famous by the name of Hunting-Leopard , a name derived from the ones that were kept in captivity in large numbers by the Indian royalty to hunt wild antelopes with.
The Asiatic Cheetah is a rare critically endangered subspecies of the Cheetah found today only in Iran, with some rare chances and very occasional sightings in Balochistan. It lives in its vast central desert in fragmented pieces of remaining suitable habitat. In recent times in the last century this once numerous and common animal was driven to extinction elsewhere in its entire former range in Southwest Asia from Arabia to India including Afghanistan; latest research shows that only 70 to 100 Asiatic Cheetahs are estimated to remain, most of them in Iran with some sightings in Pakistan. This is the result of continuous field surveys, all of which have been verified by the results of more than 12,000 nights of camera trapping inside its fragmented Iranian desert habitats during the past 10 years. The Asiatic Cheetah, the Eurasian Lynx and the Persian Leopard are the only remaining species of large cats in Iran today with the once common Caspian Tiger having already been driven to extinction in the last century; though recent genetic study has proven the Caspian to be genetically identical to the contemporary Siberian tiger, hinting that habitat fragmentation had separated the two subspecies within the last century.
The Asiatic Cheetah ("cheetah" from Hindi चीता cītā, derived from Sanskrit word chitraka meaning "speckled") (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus) is now also known as the Iranian Cheetah, as the world's last few are known to survive mostly in Iran. Although recently presumed to be extinct in India, it is also known as the Indian Cheetah.