Cheetah runs to defeat

The threat of the cheetah’s disappearance, which has been announced for several years, is becoming more and more obvious. An animal that needs huge territories resents the reduction and fragmentation of its habitat. According to the new study, the number of people is 7100. This also shows the effectiveness of protective measures.

Three associations, ZSL (Zoological Society of London), WCS (Society for the Protection of Wild Nature) and Panthera have just completed a thorough study of the cheetah population, Acinonyx jubatus. In 2014, the number was estimated at 10,000, down from 100,000 a century earlier (see our first article below). In 2016, the number will reach about 7,100, according to a group of biologists including Lori Marker (click her name to read the dossier she prepared for Futura).

This indicator is very low. According to the authors of the article published in Pnashim “historical level”, that is, before it begins to decrease, mainly due to human activity. Risk for these biologistsextinctionextinction is real andspeciesspecies subject to transfer to the Red Book ofIUCNIUCNto change Vulnerable to Endangered.

Cheetahs lack territories and prey

in cheetahcheetah, a shy animal that is difficult to observe. Its populations are best known in protected areas, but 77% of individuals live outside them. The constraints on the cheetah population are numerous. The main one is the reduction of territories, as well as their fragmentation. These predators also suffer from the reduction in the number of their prey due to human hunting. There is also a significant trade in the animals, as they are still caught as pets. However, to obtain multiple cubs, the mother must be killed, and the survival rate of young caught this way is low, the hunter must recover several to be sure of returning at least one in good condition.

The authors emphasize the effectiveness of nature conservation areas. The survival rate is very different indoors and outdoors. Thus, the cheetah is one of the animals that has become very dependent on the protection offered by human societies. The research method, explain the biologists who conducted it, deserves to be applied to other types of risk.


Original article by Marie-Celine Jacquier published on 10.08.2014 at 13:23

An animal created for fast running spends a lot of time walking in search of food. The cheetah’s habitat has indeed been restricted by human activity, so that its population has increased from 100,000 to 10,000 within a century.

The cheetah is considered the fastest running animal. With records close to 120 km/h, he has only himself to rely on speedspeed catch prey But because buildingsbuildings human resources and developmentAgricultureAgriculture, its habitat is increasingly restricted to the African savanna, affecting the species. These catscats actually pass a pressurepressure it is more important to find food due to the presence of predators stronger than them, for example lionslionshyenas or leopards.

To understand the daily life of these animals, international researchers observed 19 cheetahs for two weeks in two locations in South Africa. They measured their energy expenditure over time. The results of these studies are published in the journal Science. They show that cheetahs spend a significant part of their time and energyenergy to slowly forage for food in the savannah, an activity not really suited to their biological constitution.

Indeed, the evolution of these animals made them racing carsracing cars able to reach speed. Their light constitution does not allow storing energy for long walks. For Michael Scantlebury, lead author of the paper, “cheetahs are like Ferraris, but they drive slowly most of the time.”

A cheetah has to walk for a long time to feed

The fact that humans have built barriers or hunted cheetahs for prey (gazelles, etc.) forces them to cover greater and greater distances. Thus, animals may need to climb and descend sand dunes during the journey. sandsand at high temperatures, without drinking water… Especially difficult conditions for the most fragile among them.

For John Wilson, who was also involved in this work, “Too often we blame lions and hyenas for decimating the cheetah population, when in fact it is us humans who have driven them to decline. Imagine how difficult it is for the little ones to follow their mother further into the world. desertdesert to look for food when she herself is fighting for survival”.

This work can help implement conservation strategies for species classified as vulnerable by the IUCN.

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