So good it looks fake 🤔🧐 Cheetahs hang out most often in high visibility habitats like this one, with sparse vegetation. This preference differs from other cats, like jaguars, who prefer woodsy habitats and surprise attacks on prey (whereas cheetahs chase prey)!
A 2016 study in Scientific Research tracked male cheetahs in Namibia, whose savanna habitat is facing bush encroachment. This occurs when bush (trees, shrubs) excessively spreads and takes over other plants, like grasses. In order to restore and manage Namibia’s habitat, it’s important to understand how species are using the land. Scientists found that bush encroachment has a direct impact on sighting visibility, which could negatively impact open savanna species. This means that prey who rely on advanced notice of a cheetah attack so that they can run, like the warthog, will struggle in bush habitat. On the other hand, reduced sighting will help protect species like the kudu, who use vegetation cover to evade predators. Scientists found that cheetahs spend the most time in open areas, but also tend to converge with prey at shady habitat margins (where two different habitats meet). So what does this mean? They key to a healthy savanna ecosystem is heterogeneous habitat. A mix of woody and open savanna would aid the long-term survival of prey and cheetah. Bush thinning would help with visibility and increase grazing area and the amount of diverse wildlife. It would also increase usable area for livestock which could decrease human-wildlife conflict. (Spatial and Temporal Habitat Use by GPS Collared Male Cheetahs in Modified Bushland Habitat).
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Thank you @ashishparmarphotography for the shot!
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