Cheetah Conservation Fund

1 January 2017

Young females usually occupy the same range as their mother although ALL females are solitary except when they have a litter. Average female home ranges extend to 833 square kilometers (322 square miles). A female raises her cubs alone since adult male and female cheetahs mix only to mate. The average life span of wild radio-collared female cheetahs is 6. 9 years which compares to 11. 7 years for females in captivity. MalesOnly rarely will a male cheetah live alone. Generally 2 or 3 cheetah males, often brothers, will form a coalition.

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This small group will live and hunt together for life and usually claims a large area or range which may overlap several female territories. The average size of male territories is 37. 4 square kilometers (14. 4 square miles). Young males seek out an area at a great distance from their parent; sometimes as far as 482 kilometers (300 miles). Food & Hunting A cheetah is carnivorous and eats a variety of small animals. While most cats are nocturnal predators, the cheetah is primarily diurnal, hunting in early morning and late afternoon.

Since it depends on sight rather than smell, it likes to scan the countryside from a tree limb or the top of a termite mound. Other big cats chase only a few hundred meters: the cheetah chases 3. 4 miles (5500 meters) at an average speed of 45 miles per hour (72 kilometers per hour). Stalking is as important as the fast sprint: usually it will creep within 50 yards (46 meters) of an intended victim before the final acceleration. Full sprints last about 20 seconds and almost never exceed 1 full minute.

If it succeeds in catching an animal the cheetah will suffocate it by clamping the animal’s windpipe, sometimes holding a clamp as long as 5 minutes. Very small animals like hares are killed by a simple bite through the skull. But whatever the meal – large or small –  cheetah eats quickly for if challenged it will most often lose. Cheetahs have unusually clean eating habits: they do not return to their kill nor do they eat carrion; they leave the skin, bones and entrails of their prey.

At 6 weeks the young are strong enough to follow the hunt and when they are about 6 onths old the mother will capture live prey for them to practice killing. Habitat Not so long ago cheetahs inhabited an area from North Africa to India, but they are now commonly found only in sub-Saharan Africa (south of the Sahara Desert). Their range includes sparse sub-desert, steppe (a treeless plain), medium and long-grass plains. They need an environment with bushes, tall grass and other large plants in order to hide from predators. History The cheetah originated about 4,000,000 years ago, long before the other big cats.

The oldest fossils place  it in North America in what is now Texas, Nevada and Wyoming. Cheetahs were common throughout Asia, Africa, Europe and North America until the end of the last Ice Age, about 10,000 years ago, when massive climatic changes caused large numbers of mammals to disappear. About that time all cheetah in North America and Europe and most of those in Asia and Africa vanished. Some experts think our present populations were derived from inbreeding by those very few surviving and closely related animals.

This inbreeding “bottleneck”, as theorized, led to the present state of cheetah genetics: all cheetah alive today appear to be as closely related as identical twins. Preservation Three international agencies set the standards for an “extinct” or “endangered” rating. They are the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Several organizations are working to save the cheetah.

The DeWildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre staff, located in South Africa and established in 1971, work tirelessly to rebuild populations of many native species – one of which is the cheetah. The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) and The Africat Foundation, both located in Namibia, do research, educate local farmers in management techniques geared toward cheetah/livestock coexistence, and place rescued and rehabilitated animals in new habitats. Since larger predators have been eliminated from Namibian farmland the remaining cheetah and leopard populations find those areas most hospitable. About 95% of Namibian cheetah live on commercial farmland.

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