Scent-post preference of free-ranging Namibian cheetahs

  • August 28, 2016
  • by B. Bibles, E.H. Walker, Marker L. L., Nghikembua M.

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.

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