Rare Saharan Cheetahs Photographed
Posted on March 5, 2009 Comments (4)
The first systematic camera trap survey across the central Sahara, identified four different Saharan cheetahs using spot patterns unique to each individual. ‘The Saharan cheetah is critically endangered, yet virtually nothing is known about the population, so this new evidence, and the ongoing research work, is hugely significant,’ said Dr Sarah Durant, Zoological Society of London Senior Research Fellow.
Farid Belbachir, who is implementing the field survey, adds: ‘This is an incredibly rare and elusive subspecies of cheetah and current population estimates, which stand at less than 250 mature individuals, are based on guesswork. This study is helping us to turn a corner in our understanding, providing us with information about population numbers, movement and ecology.’
The Northwest African cheetah is found over the Sahara desert and savannas of North and West Africa, respectively, including Algeria, Niger, Mali, Benin, Burkina-Faso and Togo. The populations are very fragmented and small, with the biggest thought to be found in Algeria.
Read the full press release
Update Dec 2010: Nighttime photos of Saharan cheetah and other Saharan cat photos.