Dec 24 - Elusive Saharan Cheetah Captured in Photos

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 7 years ago '04        #1
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EscoNore 67 heat pts67
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Dec 24 - Elusive Saharan Cheetah Captured in Photos
 

 

[pic - click to view]



An elusive Saharan cheetah recently came into the spotlight in Niger, Africa, where a hidden camera snapped photos of the ghostly cat, whose pale coat and emaciated appearance distinguish it from other cheetahs.

In one of the images the sleek, light-colored cat with small spots on its coat and a small head is turning in the direction of the camera, its eyes aglow.

Its appearance, and how the Saharan cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus hecki) is genetically related to other cheetahs is open to question, said John Newby, CEO of the Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF), who is part of the team, along with SCF's Thomas Rabeil and others, who captured the camera-trap snapshots between July ad August. What they know about this species comes from the few photos they've managed to capture. [Image of Saharan cheetah]

"I think we were more happy than surprised when the images turned up, because we knew cheetahs were in the general area because we had seen their tracks on several occasions," Newby said. "However, the area is so vast that picking up an animal as rare as this always entails a lot of luck and good judgment on where to place the cameras."

The animal is so rare and elusive scientists aren't sure how many even exist, though they estimate from the few observations they've made of the animal and tracks that fewer than 10 individuals call the vast desert of Termit and Tin Toumma in Niger home. Fewer than 200 cheetahs probably exist in the entire Sahara. [10 Species You Can Kiss Goodbye]

Losing this cheetah would also mean losing important genetic and biological diversity, as these animals have adaptations for survival in extreme desert conditions.

Their home can reach sizzling temperatures up to 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius), and is so parched no standing water exists. "They probably satisfy their water requirements through the moisture in their prey, and on having extremely effective physiological and behavioral adaptations," Newby said.

[Photos: Scientists discover adorable new bearded monkey]

In an effort to conserve water and stay out of the heat, the Saharan cheetah is even more nocturnal than other cheetahs.

Spotting these cats in the wild has been a challenge. "They are incredibly shy and elusive animals," Newby said. In addition, they likely have broad home ranges since their prey - gazelles, hares, large birds and smaller rodents - are relatively scarce. Observations that have been made suggest they prefer caves and rock shelters as breeding dens.

Among the threats to the pale cat are scarcity of prey due to poaching and overuse, and conflicts with herders over stock harassment and k!lling of their animals, according to SCF. Apparently cheetah skins are prized as prayer rugs or used to make slippers.

"They are suspected of taking goats and even baby camels, and as a result are persecuted just like most other large predators," Newby said. "Work underway with local nomads is putting together the true picture of livestock predation in an attempt to reduce the arbitrary slaughter of carnivores that has massively reduced populations of cheetah and striped hyenas."

Newby and Rabeil say the camera-trap study will provide tangible evidence for the cheetah's existence in the Termit area.

"The more we know about the animal the better we can conserve it, including pinpointing key areas for extra protection," Newby said. "The cheetah's presence adds weight to arguments for the entire zone's protection as a nature reserve and strengthens our ability to raise support for conservation activities."

The Saharan cheetah is listed as critically endangered on the 2009 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. (IUCN stands for International Union for Conservation of Nature.)

Jeanna Bryner
LiveScience Managing Editor
LiveScience.com jeanna Bryner
livescience Managing Editor
livescience.com – Fri Dec 24, 8:45 am ET


[pic - click to view]

 Elusive Saharan Cheetah Captured in Photos - Yahoo! News

37 comments for "Dec 24 - Elusive Saharan Cheetah Captured in Photos"

 7 years ago '05        #2
kaderg911 6 heat pts
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they prolly got those in my country sumwhere

we used to have berber lions but now ther extinct...all the large cats of africa are dying out...sad
 7 years ago '10        #3
2TopFlite 22 heat pts22
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 bangab**ch said:
that looks like the pink panther.
 12-24-2010, 07:11 PM         #4
JerseyLegend 
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fascinating. I hope they find more and can monitor them
 7 years ago '06        #5
Blockburner28 67 heat pts67
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 bangab**ch said:
that looks like the pink panther.
 7 years ago '07        #6
Deniro732 10 heat pts10
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lmfao @ john newby....who can ever take a newby seriously?


Last edited by Deniro732; 12-24-2010 at 08:06 PM..
 7 years ago '04        #7
LikeABoss38701 12 heat pts12
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niceee .... I wonder ...:hmm:...what would have that cheetah done if that was actually a camerman standing there taking a picture...hmmmm.....never mind


 12-24-2010, 08:19 PM         #8
iThink 
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 bangab**ch said:
that looks like the pink panther.
funny because it's true




that is a cool picture...nice looking big cat
 7 years ago '04        #9
Cap Peeler 7 heat pts
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 bangab**ch said:
that looks like the pink panther.
 7 years ago '07        #10
carltouss619 8 heat pts
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i'd tackle that cheetah with the quickness and secure his legs
 12-24-2010, 08:41 PM         #11
freakbucket 
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 bangab**ch said:
that looks like the pink panther.

[pic - click to view]

 7 years ago '05        #12
Woodwin 2 heat pts
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i wonder if they faster than the regular cheetah
 7 years ago '05        #13
Hold That 104 heat pts104
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 Woodwin said:
i wonder if they faster than the regular cheetah
probably nothing more than an albino genetic defect.
 7 years ago '05        #14
freshtoodef 5 heat pts
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 freakbucket said:

[pic - click to view]

lookin like he aint eatin rite
 12-25-2010, 12:14 AM         #15
cheguevara 
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:cry: i love science
 7 years ago '04        #16
Aesop730 14 heat pts14
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Harold and Kumar did it ...
 12-25-2010, 01:00 AM         #17
atl12o13 
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Somebody need to give that Cheetah a Double Quarter Pounder with a quickness.
 7 years ago '04        #18
babalou 
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gotcha b**ch!!!!!!!!!!
 7 years ago '04        #19
chirpflare 175 heat pts175
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looks like just another stray dog to me...
 7 years ago '07        #20
Spoken210 4 heat pts
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@ yall saying theyre skinny, thats y there so fkin fast!
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