Scent-post preference of free-ranging Namibian cheetahs

08.28.2016 | By , , ,


Namibian cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) are known to use specific trees when choosing
sites for scent-marking and these are normally large and visually conspicuous trees, often
referred to by Namibian farmers as ‘‘playtrees’’. The aim of this study was to identify the
physical and ecological attributes of known scent-marking trees within a fixed area and
in turn identify the key characteristics preferred by cheetahs when selecting these trees
for use. We used mulitple linear regression to determine the physical characteristics most
influential on cheetah scent-marking tree preference. Results show that cheetahs prefer
scent-marking trees that are easy to detect and provide good visibility to the cheetah while
at the tree as it maximises each mark’s detectability by conspecifics. This study provides
new insight into the spatial structuring and organisation of Namibian cheetahs.