Cheetahs play a vital role in preserving the health of the ecosystem. As apex predators, the cheetah’s presence and ability to hunt its natural prey has very important effects on the population of those prey species, as well as on the health and productivity of their shared ecosystem. Cheetahs live primarily in grasslands and benefit the ecosystem by keeping the animals it hunts at healthy populations. Cheetahs, when possible, hunt the weak and slowest of several species of animals.
If the cheetah were no longer in existence, there would be a domino effect – referred to as a trophic cascade – resulting from the loss of this key predator, creating an imbalance in the numbers of herbivores, a resulting loss of vegetation, and higher incidence of soil erosion, less water, and a negative impact on the health of the ecosystem.