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The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is a large feline (family Felidae, subfamily Felinae) inhabiting most of Africa and parts of Iran. It is the only extant member of the genus Acinonyx. The cheetah can run faster than any other land animal – as fast as 70 to 75 mph (112 to 120 km/h) in short bursts covering distances up to 1,600 ft (500 m), and has the ability to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in three seconds. The cheetah is a unique felid, with its closest living relatives being the puma and jaguarundi of the Americas. This cat is notable for modifications in the species' paws, being one of the few felids with only semi-retractable claws.

In the wild, the cheetah is a prolific breeder, with up to nine cubs in a litter. The majority of cubs do not survive to adulthood, mainly as a result of depredation from other predators. The rate of cub mortality varies from area to area, from 50 % to 75 %, and in extreme cases such as the Serengeti ecosystem, up to 90%.