Monthly Archives: April 2014
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
On ground level they are still working hard to make the release of the wild leopards Sawal and Dimas a fact. Sadly things in Indonesia are not going fast, as you can expect of a country with an attitude “if not today, there’s always tomorrow!”
But currently there’s a meeting with Ciremai National Park to talk things through about the release and to put camera traps in the center of this Park to continue with the assessment in that area. It is a difficult project as there’s little info and experience in the release of Javan leopards and no knowledge of suitable areas to do a release as such in which the leopards will be safe.
The leopards are fine under the circumstances but the situation is far from ideal of course and we all cannot wait to give back their freedom. Help is offered now from a person experienced in surveys, camera trapping etc. so let’s hope this will speed up the assessment in the Ciremai National Park.
Our fund raising #3 is still on for 5 more days on Indiegogo, for everyone who still wants to support this release project and everything to do with it, a very valuable and time consuming operation. In the meantime we keep you updated whenever there’s news!!