Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A rare glimpse at the elusive saharan cheetah

30.01.2015

New research into the critically endangered Saharan cheetah establishes it as one of the world's rarest large cats

Research by scientists and conservationists from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Zoological Society of London, and other groups published today in PLOS ONE shows that critically endangered Saharan cheetahs exist at incredibly low densities and require vast areas for their conservation. The research also offers some of the world's only photographs of this elusive big cat.


Research by scientists and conservationists from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Zoological Society of London, and other groups published today in PLOS ONE shows that critically endangered Saharan cheetahs exist at incredibly low densities and require vast areas for their conservation. The research also offers some of the world's only photographs of this elusive big cat.

Credit: Farid Belbachir/ZSL/OPNA

The findings are a result of the monitoring of Saharan cheetahs, a critically endangered cheetah subspecies, in Ahaggar Cultural Park, Algeria. Remote infra-red camera traps were used and the photographs gathered have provided the world's scientific community with some of the only close-up photographs ever taken of the Saharan cheetah. There are thought to be fewer than 250 of these animals left in the Sahara, making them one of the rarest carnivores on the planet.

The findings by scientists and conservationists at WCS, ZSL, University College London, UK, and Université de Béjaïa, Algeria, in collaboration with the Office National du Parc Culturel de l'Ahaggar, show that the Saharan cheetah adapts its behavior to cope with the harsh desert environment in which it lives. They are active at night, probably to avoid heat or contact with humans, and must cover a vast amount of ground to find prey.

Research into how cheetahs survive within extreme desert conditions gives scientists a better understanding of how best to approach their conservation. The survival of large carnivores within the Sahara desert indicates that at present the Ahaggar Cultural Park is still a relatively healthy habitat; however there are threats to cheetah and their prey. Authors argue that more needs to be done to secure this habitat's long-term survival.

Farid Belbachir, lead-author from Laboratoire d'Ecologie et Environnement, Université de Béjaïa, Algeria, said: "This is the first time we have been able to collect scientific data on the rare Saharan cheetah, as in the past we have had to rely on anecdotes and guesswork. We hope that this important carnivore does not follow the path to extinction like other Algerian desert species such as the addax antelope and dama gazelle."

Dr Sarah Durant, co-author from WCS and ZSL, added: "This research provides us with important new insights into the world of this remarkable desert-dwelling large cat. I hope that it not only provides invaluable scientific information about the ecology of the Saharan cheetah for the first time but also reminds the world of the value of studying and protecting desert species and their environments, which are often overlooked by researchers and conservation programs."

Confined to desert environments, the Saharan cheetah lives in pockets of north and west Africa. The report shows that Saharan cheetahs are more nocturnal, more wide-ranging and occur at lower densities than other cheetahs living in Africa.

The authors are: Farid Belbachir of the Zoological Society of London, UK, University College London, UK, and Université de Béjaïa, Algeria; Sarah M Durant of the Zoological Society of London, UK, and the Wildlife Conservation Society USA; Nathalie Pettorelli of the Zoological Society of London, UK ;Tim Wacher of the Zoological Society of London, UK; and Amel Belbachir-Bazi of Universite de Bejaia, Algeria

This project was made possible through the generous support of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the partnership with Panthera, and others.

Study link: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0115136

Media Contact

John Delaney
jdelaney@wcs.org
718-220-3275

 @TheWCS

http://www.wcs.org 

John Delaney | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: Algeria Sahara Saharan Wildlife Wildlife Conservation Society ZSL carnivores conservation desert

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Contacting the molecular world through graphene nanoribbons

19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

When Proteins Shake Hands

19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

Cells communicate in a dynamic code

19.02.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>