09 15/09/2010

Cheetahs caught on camera

Over the winter months in Namibia, the N/a’an ku se Carnivore Research Project team, which Chester Zoo supports, had to stop trapping cheetahs to fit them with radio collars as the night temperatures were dropping too low.

Instead, the team trialled a new monitoring technique and had great success using camera traps to gather data on the cheetah activity.  These camera traps produced images of cheetahs active during the day and at night in full moonlight.    Camera traps are a fantastic resource used by many of our partners in the field, allowing conservationists to collect data with relative ease without disturbing the wildlife and their habitat.  As temperatures start to rise again in the evenings heading towards summer in Namibia, traps will be used again in order to fit Chester Zoo purchased radio collars onto more cheetahs in the area.

The tracking of cheetahs using radio collars has been successful in gathering data on the cheetah’s behaviour.  Recent research trips out in the field have shown that a 3-male coalition follow Red hartebeest herds of over 400+ individuals, and another 7 marking trees used by the males has been found.  Their home range was also found to expand over the winter months, following local game migration.  For more information on the project, click here

Photo credit © N/a'an ku se Carnivore Research Project