Project Update - N/a’an ku sê Research Programme

cheetah2Monitoring of 4 Namibian cheetahs with Sirtrack GPS Collars

The monitoring of perceived conflict cheetahs in Namibia continues with research technology support from Sirtrack.

Currently, four cheetahs are followed intensively and provide valuable ecological data as well as management information.

 

Acinonyx jubatus N038 - Unit ID 108892

Following eight months of almost extreme post-release explorations through the pro-Namib ecosystem the male cheetah has established a stable range of approximately 108.17km² (measured as fixed Kernel at the 95% data contour) during the last 9.5 months of monitoring (Fig. 1).

The delayed range establishment behaviour of this cheetah confirms observations from previous cheetah translocations. The range is located within the boundaries Namib Naukluft Park, an ideal area as the Park harbours large herds of suitable prey and holds no potential for landowner conflict.

 

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Figure 1. Current home range of male cheetah N038.

 

The current range parameters resemble those of other non-translocated cheetah males monitored in central Namibia, as do N038’s mean daily movements of approximately 3.57km. Spatial data also demonstrate two distinct core use areas in the center of the range which indicates territorial behaviour.

 

Acinonyx jubatus N069-070 - Unit ID 91210

These two cheetah females of approximately four years of age were only recently fitted with monitoring collars, one of them including a refurbished Sirtrack - ARGOS GPS unit. Since the onset of monitoring, the females remained within a definable area for the first five weeks before displaying strong directional movements of 39.34km to the East in March 2013 (Fig. 2).

 

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Figure 2. Post-tagging movements of a female cheetah coalition.

 

The females could be observed directly on several occasions during field monitoring and show cohesive behaviour indicating a strong coalition between
both animals, probably a sibling association.

In the course of the first five weeks, the researchers were also able to document five confirmed kills of Greater kudu Tragelaphus strepsiceros (Fig. 3)
and the females were recorded in excellent physical condition by one of the trail cameras set up in the area (Fig. 4).

The animals are currently traversing through commercial livestock properties and are monitored closely.

 

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Figure 3. Subadult kudu killed by N069-070.

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Figure 4. N069-070 recorded by trail camera.

 

figure5Figure 5. Post-release explorations of N056.

Acinonyx jubatus N056 - Unit ID 108893

Similar to the post-release behaviour of male N038, the female cheetah displayed excessive exploratory movements after translocation (Fig. 5).

The female and her dependent offspring traveled a minimum distance of no less than 904km during the first 7.5 months post release, with a mean of approximately 4km per day.

This is significant and holds important implications for the future management of perceived conflict cheetahs as it once more demonstrates that free-range releases are very unpredictable in their outcomes as regards to range establishment.

Nonetheless, the female has survived in the novel environment for nearly 12 months now and not caused any known conflict. Only recently has N056 shown more concentrated movements (Fig. 6) indicating first tendencies towards a permanent range.

The area is located approximately 157km away from the initial release site and covers parts of tourism, game and livestock properties.

 

 

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Figure 6. Movements of female cheetah N056 December 2012 – March 2013.

 

The researchers thank Sirtrack and Global Supplies for their continued support of the carnivore work in Namibia.

 

Sincerely,

florian-j-weise

Florian J Weise

Head of Research

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