The Namibian cheetah: status report

01.01.2007 | By , , , ,

Over the past century, wild cheetahs Acinonyx jubatus have undergone a drastic reduction in global geogra- phic range and population size, leaving Namibia as one of the remaining strongholds for the species. This report examines the distribution and population trends of cheetahs in Namibia and discusses their relative abundance on the commercial farmlands, which has led to intense conflict with humans: an issue that continues to threaten the long-term viability of the population. We provide a brief overview of the policy and legislation relevant to cheetahs in Namibia, and discuss the rates of, and reasons for cheetah removal from the farmlands, which tend to predominantly involve adult male cheetahs. Considerable research has been conducted on Namibian cheetahs, and has shown that they have extremely large home ranges, prefer habitat patches with grassy cover and high visibility, and show prey selection for native game species. In addition, extensive biomedical, reproductive and genetic research has been conducted on the Namibian cheetah providing valuable data from which conservation strategies are based. We also provide an over- view of the current threats facing Namibian cheetahs, and discuss possible strategies for addressing these threats to ensure the long-term conservation of this valuable population.