Aspects of the management of cheetahs trapped on Namibian farmlands
- February 6, 2003
- by Marker L. L., A.J. Dickman, M.G.L. Mills, D.W. Macdonald
The Namibian cheetah population has recently undergone serious decline due to human-mediated removals, and investigating the rates and causes of such removals is an important aspect of the future management of cheetah populations outside protected areas. We examined cheetahs that were reported live-trapped or killed on Namibian farmlands between 1991 and 1999. A perceived threat to livestock or game led to the vast majority of live captures and to almost half of the cheetah deaths investigated. Despite this, livestock predation from cheetahs appeared to be minimal, and was usually perpetrated by cheetahs with injuries. Most of the cheetahs were trapped in groups, and cheetahs’ relative sociality leads to the easy removal of entire social units. Long-term monitoring must include detailed consideration of these indiscriminate removals, as they involve many cheetahs, fluctuate between years, often go unreported, and are likely to have a serious impact on cheetah populations outside protected areas.