Cheetah Monitoring In Kenya

Meru NP. Three cheetahs in the bush: female with two sub-adult cubs

In the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania a detailed long-term cheetah study was initiated in 1974. Most of our knowledge of cheetah behavior and social structure is based on the information obtained from observations of cheetahs of Serengeti plains. We have only fragmented knowledge on cheetah behavior in other habitats. Action for Cheetahs (ACK) in Kenya has been active in Kenya since 2001 with a focus on cheetahs outside of parks and protected areas. ACK has mapped the current regions of cheetah presence and together with the National and Regional Cheetah and Wild Dog Strategic Plans (IUCN and KWS) has identified gaps in knowledge of cheetah habitat selection in the Mara and Meru regions. ACK efforts are currently focused in south central and northwestern cheetah populations outside of protected areas, so the Mara and Meru area studies will provide valuable information for comparative data collection and conservation strategies.

Meru is characterized by a mosaic of varying geomorphologic landscapes, by overlapping climatic zones and varying vegetation cover including open Acacia wooded grassland, bushland, shrubland and riverine forests. Although it is difficult to spot cheetahs in dense vegetation, behavioral observations in Meru will provide more details on cheetah survival strategy in different ecological conditions.

Thus study of such areas is important for conservation of vulnerable species and for preserving their unique habitats.


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