into the
world of the

Big cats

May 2014: Cheetahmom gives birth to 6 cubs in Arnhem-Zoo (Netherlands)

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.

6_cheetahcubs_bornIn 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.

Source: Omroepgelderland.nl

Survival factors in living with lions

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