This month in our Spotlight on Species series, we shine a light on the threats to Cheetahs in the wild and how we can help protect them from extinction.
Cheetahs look majestic and adorable all at the same time, but do not mistake this cat for being one you’d want to take home as a pet… Cheetahs are without a doubt one of Africa’s top predators along with being one of the most endangered. Africa used to flourish with wild game and big cats, but if we keep endangering these species they will soon go extinct and all that was once beautiful in Africa will consist of tumbleweeds and dirt.
The cheetah has been abused by the human race in a number of different ways… We have encroached on their home turf and taken over their land, and have even stolen their food. We admire them so much, that we kill them and use their fur so that we can make our ugly and ordinary selves look more beautiful. Cheetah cubs are captured and smuggled into countries like Asia where humans keep them as pets.
Conservationists use reserves to try to do what’s right and keep a large section of land from being hunted on so wild animals can hunt without having humans take over their home. However the cheetah doesn’t fare so well in reservations because other big predators like lions and hyenas are all competing for the same prey as the cheetah. Cheetahs are fast and strong but lions are stronger and normally hunt in packs which is bad news for the cheetah.
Predators, such as cheetahs eat vulnerable prey (sick or old) which leaves more food and a better chance of survival for healthy prey. An over population of prey would eat all of the grass along with other food sources and would then slowly starve from having nothing to eat. Cheetahs do not eat rotten meat and therefore leave what’s left to feed other scavengers when they are finished. Cheetahs do a number of important things to keep the ecosystem in check and if we lose them then the ecosystem will be out of balance.
Research is being done by cheetah experts and volunteers to help regrow the population through health and reproduction, technology, cheetah census research, ecological research, and investigating human and wildlife conflict. The Cheetah Conservation Fund is doing all of these things to help protect and repopulate the African land with cheetahs. CCF studies the cheetah to better understand its health and ability to reproduce along with other checkups like analysis of dental structure. They use a genetics lab to do research on the cheetah and its environment. CCF even implements relocation and reintroduction of cheetahs into a new area to keep them out of harms way. They are even able to monitor cheetahs and their activities in a non-invasive way to gather data. CCF tracks cheetahs using radio-telemetry, camera traps, and spoor tracks to get a better idea of the population of cheetahs in the area. CCF investigates different methods to try to keep cheetahs and farmers at peace with one another. They investigate different livestock management opportunities along with predator control techniques for the farmers to use. They also try to educate farmers and people on how important cheetahs are to the ecosystem.
Cheetahs are critical to maintaining ecological balance and now we need to help them by being their voice. Speaking out about causes you care about is a small and simple act but plays a major role. The first thing people need to do before they can help the cheetah or any other animal is understand them and its situation. Use Nikela and this blog as a source of information to understand a learn more about an animal you care deeply about. A small act can go a long way. I look at my blog contributions as… One small step for man and one giant leap for cheetahs!
Contributed by Nikela Volunteer Elizabeth Howells