Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls

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The value of your photos

The value of your photos

The value of your photos
STEPHANIE PERIQUET

Cheetah Conservation Project Zimbabwe has received reports of more than 1,000 sightings and 3,500 cheetah pictures from the public during the last three years. Cheetah can be identified based on their unique coat markings. The sightings and pictures have not only enabled us to identify 74 individual cheetah from all over Zimbabwe, but can alsoallow us to follow some individuals throughout their life without actually seeing them.
 

Do you, for example, remember the female cheetah that gave birth to three cubs on the Wild Horizons concession in 2012? Once the cubs were large enough to follow their mother, the cheetah family frequently crossed the road to the Stanley and Livingstone concession and was even sighted in the Zambezi National Park. 
 

With a last sighting in 2013, they disappeared off the radar until four months ago, when the Hwange Lion Research Project picked up two of the offspring, now adults, on their camera trap survey in Matetsi. The two brothers, which, according to cheetah tradition, will stay together for life, look healthy and seem to have settled down 70km from where they were born.
 

Thanks to the large number of tourists, guides and researchers in the field, we receive a lot of information from Hwange National Park. In 2011 we received a picture of a cheetah mother with three cubs: one male and two females. The family was regularly photographed, and we saw the cubs turn into adults. Even when, at eighteen months old, the cubs left their mother, we continued to receive sightings. 

For a while we lost track of the youngsters, with the last sighting dating back to June 2013. However, at the beginning of 2014 one of the female offspring, now an adult herself,was sighted in the area where she was born, with two cubs of her own. Unfortunately, shortly after, one of these cubs was killed by a leopard. To our surprise, six months later this female's sister was photographed in the same area with three cubs. The sisters' cubs are now past their first most vulnerable six months which bodes well for their survival.

 

As you can see, your sightings and/or pictures give us invaluable insight into the population size and life history of the cheetah. So if you have come across a cheetah in Zimbabwe please let us know.