Recently published in the Journal

10 12 2013

Cheetah cub survival revisited: A re-evaluation of the role of predation, especially by lions, and implications for conservation

It is widely held that cheetahs are prone to high cub mortality rates, mainly due to predation by lions.  This perception resulted from a landmark study on the Serengeti Plains, which found that only 4.8% of cheetah cubs survived, indicating that areas where large carnivores need to co-exist may not be suitable for cheetah conservation.  However, a recent study by Michael G.L. Mills and Margaret E.J. Mills, published in Journal of Zoology, has revealed that survival of cheetah cubs in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park was seven times higher than on the Serengeti Plains.  Although predation was the most common form of mortality, there was no evidence of lion predation, indicating that a range of other predators could also be involved.  Moreover, the authors suggest that scrutiny of the Serengeti data does not unequivocally prove the dominance of lions as predators of cheetah cubs there, and conclude that predation is an integral part of cheetah dynamics.

copyright Gus Mills

copyright Gus Mills

Importantly, the paper challenges the belief that cheetah cub mortality is always inordinately high, and that lions are their major predator.  The results suggest that cheetahs can potentially coexist successfully in protected areas with other large carnivores.  This paper sheds new light on ecological relations in carnivore community ecology that could influence long-term conservation planning for cheetahs.

Linda DaVolls

Advertisements

Actions

Information

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: