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Gaborone, Botswana

Marker L.L.,Cheetah Conservation Botswana | Boast L.K.,Taipa
Human Dimensions of Wildlife | Year: 2015

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) conservation is interconnected to social, economic, and environmental factors. Since the 2003 World Parks Congress, cheetah conservation practitioners have been applying human -wildlife conflict resolution strategies throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Future Farmers of Africa training has taught farm management skills to over 3,000 rural Namibian farmers and is being used in other range countries. Capacity building for conservation scientists and extension officers has been conducted using a “train the trainer” approach. The use of livestock-guarding dogs has expanded and eco-labels have been established to assist communities to coexist with cheetahs. Awareness building and government “buy-in” has occurred in many of the cheetah range countries. The conservancy program of Namibia is spreading into other areas of Africa, providing a basis for developing large-scale, transboundary land management plans. However, the continuation and development of such programs is ongoing, and no single program is likely to reduce human -cheetah conflict alone. Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Dalton D.L.,National Zoological Gardens of South Africa | Dalton D.L.,University of the Free State | Charruau P.,University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna | Boast L.,Cheetah Conservation Botswana | And 2 more authors.
European Journal of Wildlife Research | Year: 2013

Once widely distributed throughout Africa, cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) occur today within fragmented populations and are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. Botswana currently hosts the second largest cheetah population throughout the species' range. This study initiated a molecular genetic survey of wild Botswana cheetah populations. It focused on the relatedness within presumed social groups using 14 microsatellite markers and revealed a higher proportion of unrelated male coalitions than was expected. Based on the unrelated cheetahs only, the estimation of the genetic variation corresponded with results from recent studies on different African populations. The analysis of unrelated individuals indicated limited genetic differentiation between cheetahs from different regions of Botswana. This suggests that the Botswana cheetah population might represent a unique panmictic population as long as sufficient levels of gene flow are maintained within the distribution range. This baseline information will now be incorporated to develop management strategies and set priorities for cheetah conservation in Botswana. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Boast L.K.,Cheetah Conservation Botswana | Boast L.K.,University of Cape Town | Houser A.M.,Cheetah Conservation Botswana | Houser A.M.,University of Pretoria | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Mammalogy | Year: 2013

Body size affects almost every aspect of the biology of a species, with considerable intraspecific variation. Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) reportedly vary in body size across their geographical range. However, because morphometric measurements were not taken in a standardized manner, it is impossible to rule out differences in measurement protocols as the cause. Our study differed from previous ones in that we made use of a standardized methodology for taking morphometric measurements in cheetahs. Free-ranging cheetahs in Namibia were shorter (3.5-4.1%) and slimmer (4.0-7.0%) than those in neighboring Botswana. Cheetah density was more than 3 times higher and home-range sizes were more than 3 times smaller in Botswana compared to Namibia. This suggests that variation in resource availability may be the main driver of the fine-scale spatial differences in morphometric measurements. Overall, our study promotes the use of standardized protocols for measuring morphological traits in free-ranging animals. © 2013 American Society of Mammalogists.

Boast L.K.,Cheetah Conservation Botswana | Boast L.K.,University of Cape Town | Houser A.M.,Cheetah Conservation Botswana | Houser A.M.,University of Pretoria
South African Journal of Wildlife Research | Year: 2012

Accurate estimates of predator densities are important for the conservation management of large predator populations. Predator densities outside of protected areas are often understudied and management decisions are based on assumptions of predator numbers. This study conducted three spoor surveys on commercial farmland in Botswana to estimate large predator densities. Brown hyaenas (Hyaena brunnea) were found to occur evenly across both cattle and game farms at higher densities than previously assumed. Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) and leopards (Panthera pardus) were more commonly located on game ranches, at or below population density assumptions. This study demonstrated the importance but difficulties of conducting predator surveys on farmland, where study animals are often at risk of persecution by landowners, due to the perceived or real threat predators may pose to livestock and stocked game.

Houser A.,Cheetah Conservation Botswana | Houser A.,University of Pretoria | Gusset M.,University of Oxford | Bragg C.J.,University of Cape Town | And 2 more authors.
South African Journal of Wildlife Research | Year: 2011

The rehabilitation of orphaned animals is commonly practiced but rarely scientifically documented. The behavioural development before release (e.g. regarding hunting skills) is particularly important for ensuring animals are self-sustaining after release. We document the rehabilitation and release of three confiscated cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) cubs and one leopard (Panthera pardus) cub, which were taken from the wild in Botswana. The animals were raised with minimal human contact and the development of their hunting skills was observed and assisted by limited pre-release training. After release, all animals were monitored and data showed they successfully hunted, with behavioural patterns similar to wild conspecifics. All established stable home ranges at the release site. Home ranges of the cheetahs ranged from 44 to 121 km 2, travelling primarily during the early morning and evening, ranging from 4.5 to 9.4 km/day. While the leopard survived and probably reproduced within a stable home range (449 km 2), all three cheetahs were shot within 7 months of release. Therefore, although orphaned large felids can successfully hunt after release using appropriate rehabilitation techniques, they face the same humancarnivore conflicts of their wild counterparts. Our study demonstrates the indispensable but commonly neglected need for post-release monitoring in wildlife rehabilitation.

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