Rare Saharan Cheetahs Photographed

Posted on March 5, 2009  Comments (4)

photo of Saharan Cheetah© Farid Belbachir/ZSL/OPNA

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.

Related: Cheetahs Released into the WildUsing Cameras Monitoring To Aid Conservation EffortsJaguars Back in the Southwest USARare Chinese Mountain Cat

4 Responses to “Rare Saharan Cheetahs Photographed”

  1. Anonymous
    March 6th, 2009 @ 4:48 am

    Hi,
    I’m from South Africa, Johannesburg. Reading this was great, i love the bush and all the animales it holds, but it’s sad to see more and more of the land they love, getting taken away from them for mans own perpose.
    More and more animales are becoming in-dangered, it’s good to hear that someone is working on changing this for some of them.
    Great work on the site.

  2. Nick
    March 6th, 2009 @ 10:45 am

    For some reason the head of the cheetah in the picture looks weird to me. It’s not the blurriness of it, I think I expected it to be bigger maybe. Anyway, nice picture and I had no idea that this type of cheetah was so endangered.

  3. Anonymous
    March 6th, 2009 @ 2:29 pm

    I saw this on Comcast, and thought it was interested, I went to Africa when I was 16 and loved it. I love learning about Africa and keeping up to date with what is going on. We did see a cheetah when we were there and now I will always remember that forever.

  4. More Photos of Rare Saharan Cheetah and Other Wildlife » Curious Cat Science Blog
    December 25th, 2010 @ 9:07 am

    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…

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