|Copyright: Michel Detay (M_Detay)
|Date Taken: 2012-08-29|
|Camera: D3S, Nikon 80-400mm VR|
|Exposure: f/5.2, 1/250 seconds|
|Photo Version: Original Version|
|Date Submitted: 2012-09-04 2:37|
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Mother Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and 2 cubs in Otjitotongwe Namibia|
I had the chance to meet a mother cheetah and two cubs (less than 3 month old) in Namibia.
The cheetah originally occupied most of Africa except for the equatorial forest and the true desert, (Sahara & Namib) as well as much of the Middle East and India, where it became extinct in the early 1950's. It is now extremely rare in the rest of Asia and Africa, north of the equator.
It is estimated that there are less than 7,500 cheetah left in the world, and about 6,000 of these are found in Southern Africa. According to a 1970 study, the numbers of cheetah in Namibia had improved, due apparently to the removal of lion and hyena, by farmers. In some cases, it was because of the re-introduction of various antelope species, favoured by these fleet-footed cats.
More recent surveys have shown that Namibia has 2000-2500 cheetah, of which 95% are on private (game of cattle) farms. Unfortunately, some farmers have continued to shoot cheetah because of their tendency to raid stock, particularly where their natural prey species are scarce, or absent. Whilst the current figures do not make the cheetah endangered in the absolute sense of the word, the extraordinary degree of genetic uniformity that these cats have been shown to exhibit, raises the possibility that a disease could devastate wild populations. Otjitotongwe is dedicated to the preservation of the cheetah species.
Status: protected species in Namibia - considered vulnerable.
The cheetah is a protected species in Namibia, but people are allowed to remove cheetahs if they pose a threat to livestock or human life. Unfortunately, some farmers will capture cheetahs indiscriminately (the "conflict" animals may not be singled out), often removing or killing those that have not taken any livestock. Limited international trade in live animals and skins is permitted from Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana. Illegal trade in other parts of Africa and indiscriminate capture and removal in southern Africa continue to threaten the survival of this species.
Survival Threats: decline in prey, loss of habitat, and indiscriminate trapping and shooting as a livestock predator threaten the survival of the cheetah throughout its range.
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