This picture from the Mara Cheetah project shows the reality of nature. This leopard killed the cheetah and is actually treating it like any other prey: hanging it in the tree and eating it. The strength of a leopard, leaving no chance to eat and food go to waste, even if this means (or even so!) eating another predator.
It is difficult to see, also for us working with/for both species, but we have to be realistic here too. It shouldn’t affect us more than any other prey animal that gets killed and hang in the tree to serve for dinner, but it still does? It is luckily an unusual sight, not happening too often, but with the cheetah having difficulties to survive in the wild we hope this will stay a rare occasion. Even though we also agree: the leopard has to eat (every coin has two sides)!
In an incredible wildlife moment a leopard leapt from a height of 40 feet to snare a spot of lunch.
The cunning big cat dives from a tree into a herd of startled impala, quickly pinning one of the animals down.
The African antelope moved to graze underneath the tree, unaware that the crafty predator was lurking in the branches several metres above them.
Full article: DailyMail.co.uk
It sometimes happens that 6 cubs are born, also in the wild, usually not all of the cubs make it to adulthood. A few years ago a female cheetah did raise succesfully a litter of 6 in the wild (Masai Mara, Kenya.) The biggest litter cheetahcubs was one of 9 cubs (in South Africa, captivity) of which 7 did survive. They were not raised by the mom but by Zanchieta Wildcat farm.
In Arnhem zoo the mom and her cubs won’t be shown to the public for a while longer as if the mother gets stressed there’s a possibility she can kill or even eat her cubs. So far the cubs are all healthy. Sadly zoos always have a pressmoment which gives a lot of stress to the animals, who already are nervous because of the vaccinations and implant of a chip. This of course doesn’t happen in the wild.
Cheetahs thrive, wild dogs don’t…
Increases in the number of top predators like lions do not always affect the number of cheetahs in the area. A recent study looked at the effects of lion populations on other hunters. The number of cheetahs was not affected by the increase in the lion population but wild dogs suffered to the point of local extinction.
The study used historical data accumulated in the Serengeti over a period of 30 years and study of individual animals via radio-collars. During the closing decades of the previous century the number of lions tripled. During the same period the wild dogs left the area or were killed outright while the cheetah population remained stable.
When comparing the findings with data from fenced areas in southern Africa showed the same pattern. Cheetahs can live with lions but wild dogs can’t.
What could be a factor is that lions do not exclusively hunt the same prey as cheetahs and therefore will not always compete at the dinner table. Wild dogs have a wider range of prey animals and can therefore be a greater threat to lions.
Of course the study only addresses certain aspects of inter-species dynamics and does not mention that all three species suffer most from the ultimate apex-predator, humans and their relentless expansion.
Read the study report in the Journal of Animal Ecology