The Cheetah – a Magnificent Cat

Did you know that the Cheetah is among animals classified as endangered species?

Botswana provides a home for approximately 30% of earth’s remaining 7,100 cheetahs and is the only country where their population remains constant.

Cheetahs need large areas to survive and therefore 70% of Botswana’s cheetah population are living outside protected areas. It is for this reason that Cheetah Conservation Botswana exists to make sure that there is peace between rural communities and this species, and empowering locals to manage human-wildlife conflicts.

Cheetahs are the fastest animal on land cheetahs but fascinatingly come in lowest on the predator scale with their kills being stolen often by the smaller jackal. Botswana’s high predator population puts the cheetah is under severe pressure to survive.

Photo by Cheetah Conservation Fund

Although Cheetah have one of the highest success rates when it comes to hunting but of all the predators, they are the most likely to have the kill stolen and have to eat very quickly as other predators are quickly on the scene.

Even Vultures have been known to steal kills from the cheetah. Hard to imagine.

Cheetah have a range of calls for different occasions, ranging from satisfied purrs to chirping and fear inspiring growls.

Observation of cheetah hunts reveal varying hunting methodology. A family group of a mother and her five offspring in the Marsh would use a flanking manoeuvre during a hunt. This is where two cheetah would flank a herd of Antelope before revealing themselves in a seemingly lazy chase. The prey then scatter in fear in all directions, and at least one heads in the direction where the other three are waiting in hiding.

Cheetah rely on great speed in a chase, but a great deal of stalking and watching goes into a hunt. During the chase, the prey is knocked to the ground whilst running, at which point the cheetah clamps its jaws on the victim’s air pipe effectively suffocating it to death.

Cheetah have a lot of competition from other predators and will gladly be the first to move away to another area when they feel overwhelmed.

Hyenas often follow a group of cheetah on a hunt and quickly move in to steal a kill.

Difference Between a Leopard and a Cheetah?
  • Cheetahs have round spots, Leopards have rosette-style spots.
  • Cheetahs have black “tear marks” that streak from the inner corner of their eyes, down their cheeks. Leopards don’t.

Most likely sightings of cheetah in Botswana are throughout the wilderness areas of Botswana – even in the arid reaches of the Kalahari. Popular areas Chitabe in the Okavango Delta and Linyanti , and Kwando.

Take a look at The Skymartbw Tourism and Travel section for help in where to go and packages available to explore Botswana.

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