Southeast African cheetah
The Southeast African cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus) is the nominate cheetah subspecies. It was first described by German naturalist Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber in his book Die Säugethiere in Abbildungen nach der Natur mit Beschreibungen (The Mammals illustrated as in Nature with Descriptions), published in 1775.
Diurnal animals are active during the daytime, with a period of sleeping or other inactivity at night. The timing of activity by an animal depends ...
A carnivore meaning 'meat eater' is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of a...
Among animals, viviparity is the development of the embryo inside the body of the parent. The term 'viviparity' and its adjective form 'viviparous'...
A cursorial organism is one that is adapted specifically to run. An animal can be considered cursorial if it has the ability to run fast (e.g. chee...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Ambush predators are carnivorous animals that capture or trap prey by stealth, luring, or by (typically instinctive) strategies utilizing an elemen...
Pursuit predation is a form of predation in which predators actively give chase to their prey, either solitarily or as a group. Pursuit predators r...
Altricial animals are those species whose newly hatched or born young are relatively immobile. They lack hair or down, are not able to obtain food ...
Nomadic animals regularly move to and from the same areas within a well-defined range. Most animals travel in groups in search of better territorie...
A territory is a sociographical area that which an animal consistently defends against the conspecific competition (or, occasionally, against anima...
Polygyny is a mating system in which one male lives and mates with multiple females but each female only mates with a single male.
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
Southeast African cheetahs have a bright yellow or sometimes a golden coat, and their fur is slightly thicker than that of other subspecies. The white underside is very distinct, especially on the neck and breast, and it has less spotting on its belly. The spots on the face are more pronounced, and as a whole, their spots seem denser than those of most other subspecies. The tear marks are notably thicker at the corners of the mouth, and almost all of them have distinct brown mustache markings. Southeast African cheetahs also have fur behind their tails and have both white and black tips at the end of their tails. However, they may also have only a black tip at the end of their tails. In desert areas, such as the Kalahari, cheetahs are somewhat smaller and lighter in weight, with thinner, bright-colored fur, a trait the Northwest African cheetah also has.
Southeast African cheetahs are native to East and Southern Africa. They live in grasslands, savannahs, scrub forests, and arid environments such as deserts and semi-desert steppes. These cheetahs can be found in open fields, where they chase and hunt antelopes at a very high speed. In South Africa, cheetahs also prefer woodlands (in Kruger National Park), shrublands, high mountains, mountainous grasslands, and montane areas where favorable prey is mostly available. Namibia maintains the largest population of wild cheetahs worldwide; about 90-95% of the cheetahs live on Namibian farmlands.
Male Southeast African cheetahs are sociable and may live in a group with other males. Males establish their territories by marking their territories by urinating on trees or termite mounds. The females, though, are not sociable and do not establish a territory. They are solitary and avoid each other. However, they may live with their mothers, daughters, or sisters on their home ranges. The female's home range's size can depend on the prey base. Cheetahs in southern African woodlands have ranges as small as 34 km2 (13 sq mi), while in some parts of Namibia, they can reach 1,500 km2 (580 sq mi). Other information about the lifestyle of Southeast African cheetahs is scarce. In general, cheetahs are most active during the day. They often inspect their vicinity at observation points such as elevations to check for prey or larger carnivores; even while resting, they take turns keeping a lookout. When hunting cheetahs use their vision instead of their sense of smell; they keep a lookout for prey from resting sites or low branches. They will stalk their prey, trying to stay unnoticed in cover, and approach as close as possible, often within 60 to 70 m (200 to 230 ft) of the prey. They can also lie hidden in the cover and wait for the prey to come nearer. In areas of minimal cover, cheetahs will approach within 200 m (660 ft) of the prey and start the chase. These spotted felids are very vocal and have a broad repertoire of calls and sounds such as chirps (or a "stutter-barks"), churrs (or churtlings), purring, bleating, coughing, growling, hissing, meowing and moaning (or yowling). Other vocalizations include gurgling noise, "nyam nyam" sound "ihn ihn" sound to gather cubs, and a "prr prr" to guide them on a journey. A low-pitched alarm call is used to warn the cubs to stand still.
Southeast African cheetahs have a carnivorous diet. They prey on medium-sized and large antelopes, and fast, small animals such as Cape hares and rodents. Within their native rage, their common prey species include Thomson's gazelles, impala, kudu, puku, oribi, springbok, gemsbok, steenbok, wildebeest, warthog, Red hartebeest, and other ungulates. They especially prefer to prey on the oryx and the nyala.
In general, cheetahs have a polygynous mating system, where a male mates with multiple females. In addition, males associate with females only for mating and do not provide parental care. The gestation can last for 90 to 95 days after which 2-5 cubs are born. Newborn babies are blind, being completely vulnerable. Cubs of Southeast African cheetahs are usually born between November and January in Namibia and from November to March in Zambia. The cubs accompany their mothers to learn how to hunt on their own after the age of 5-6 weeks. After they reach 18 months of age, the mother leaves her cubs, and the siblings remain as a group for a few months until the sisters leave the group and the brothers stay together. The male cubs may form alliances with other males after separating from their mothers. Female cheetahs can reproduce at 13 to 16 months of age and with a typical age of reproductive maturity between 20 and 23 months.
Southern cheetahs are vulnerable subspecies, due to poaching, habitat loss, and lack of prey. Indiscriminate capture and removal of wild cheetahs in southern Africa continue to threaten the survival of this species, as it may reduce the genetic diversity in the wild and they breed poorly in captivity. Its survival is also threatened by inbreeding. In Botswana, the cheetahs are mostly threatened by habitat changes. Cheetahs were also highly threatened by hunting and range loss. In the early 1930s, they were hunted down and almost went extinct in South Africa. Therefore, cheetahs have lost most of their range, mostly in South Africa and Mozambique. They also disappeared from many regions of South Africa, only living in the northern and northeastern parts of the country. During the 1970s, 9,500 cheetahs were killed in Namibian farmlands. As a protected species in Namibia, people are allowed to remove Namibian cheetahs only if they pose a threat to livestock or human life. Unfortunately, farmers might capture Namibian cheetahs, often removing or killing those that have not taken any livestock.
According to IUCN Red List, the total population size of the Southeast African cheetah is estimated to be around 3,526 mature individuals in Southern Africa and 2,102 mature individuals in Eastern Africa. As a whole, currently, the cheetah species is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List, and its numbers today are decreasing.
Due to their diet habits, cheetahs control populations of prey species they feed upon. Otherwise, populations of these animals could become so large, that they would break down the whole food web, eating all the vegetation in the area and ruining the soil. On the other hand, cheetahs hunt on weak or sick animals, thus not allowing weaker genes to pass to the next generations and maintaining the health of prey species.
Social animals are those animals that interact highly with other animals, usually of their own species (conspecifics), to the point of having a rec...