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Accueil du site → Doctorat → Allemagne → 2019 → Spatial ecology of free-ranging cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and its applications to mitigate the farmer-cheetah conflict in Namibia

Freie Universität Berlin (2019)

Spatial ecology of free-ranging cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and its applications to mitigate the farmer-cheetah conflict in Namibia

Melzheimer, Jörg

Titre : Spatial ecology of free-ranging cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and its applications to mitigate the farmer-cheetah conflict in Namibia

Räumliche Ökologie der Geparden (Acinonyx jubatus) und die Anwednung der selbigen zur Reduzierung des Farmer-Geparden-Konfliktes in Namibia

Auteur : Melzheimer, Jörg

Université de soutenance : Freie Universität Berlin

Grade : Doctor rerum naturalium (Dr. rer. nat.) 2019

Résumé partiel
The global distribution of the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) has decreased dramatically during the past decades. Cheetahs are currently confined to only 9% of their former range. Approximately 77% of the cheetah range lies outside protected areas, frequently exposing cheetahs to conflict with people. Southern Africa represents with approximately 4,000 individuals the stronghold of the global cheetah population which comprises approximately 7,100 individuals. Namibia hosts approximately 1,500 individuals, which together with the cheetahs in Botswana form the largest connected population worldwide. This population is threatened because most of these cheetahs roam on livestock farms and are persecuted by farmers. From a conservation point of view it is therefore of utmost importance to develop non-lethal mitigation strategies to reduce this long-lasting farmer-cheetah conflict. This dissertation thesis was conducted to use long-term data of the Cheetah Research Project (CRP) of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) in Berlin, Germany, to develop and test such a mitigation strategy in Namibia. In chapter 5 (publication one), I investigated the socio-spatial organization of free-ranging cheetahs on commercial farmland in central Namibia. Although cheetahs have been studied in several areas in the world for decades, their socio-spatial organization had not yet been clarified. The most comprehensive study was conducted in the 1990s in the Serengeti National Park (NP) in Tanzania and described a unique social organisation in mammals. Adult males either defended small territories separated from each other by some distance or roamed in large home ranges that encompassed several territories. The latter males are termed “floaters” and regularly visited the territories within their home ranges. Females also roamed in large home ranges which encompassed several territories but stayed mainly in the area between territories. Both territory holders and floaters can be solitary or occur in coalitions of two to three males. Subsequent studies elsewhere did not recognise such socio-spatial organization because of the method by which they categorized the individuals for data analysis. In this chapter I analysed the movement data of 133 males and 31 females to demonstrate that the socio-spatial organization of cheetahs described in the Serengeti NP also exists in Namibia. Several predictions were derived from the social organisation described for the Tanzanian cheetahs and tested with the data of the CRP. Consecutively I re-analysed published data of previous studies and could confirm the two tactics also in these datasets. Territory holder have preferred access to females, floaters heavily fight for territories, and the pattern can be found in all studies populations. Therefore I conclude, that this behavior may be a general trait of the species.

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