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The cheetah and their cubs

a literature study about the offspring mortality rate of cheetahs before emergence

The cheetah and their cubs

a literature study about the offspring mortality rate of cheetahs before emergence

Samenvatting

The global population of cheetahs is declining, which is a threat to the health of their ecosystems and biodiversity. Cheetahs are listed as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List, but some conservation scientists want them to be up listed from to ‘Endangered’. The decline in cheetah populations is a result of several causes. One of them is their high offspring mortality. The aim was to identify the main causes of why so many cheetah cubs die before emergence, to see how conservationists could make sure that cheetah cubs survive until emergence, so they have more chance of surviving until their adolescence. This protection would be needed to contribute to the reduction of the decline in cheetah populations, what would also help with increasing biodiversity. The main question is: ‘Why do cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) have a high offspring mortality rate before emergence from the lair?’ To answer this main question, a literature research has been conducted. The main results of the literature research are: - Predation is the major cause of death for cubs until emergence. - Predation is less likely outside protected areas. - There are two human threats for cubs: residents and illegal trade. - Shortages of food and/or water reduce the survival chances of cubs until emergence. - Climate change may reduce the survival chances of cubs until emergence. - In habitats with denser vegetation, cubs have more chance of survival until emergence. - The nurturing behavior of mothers is important for the survival of cubs until emergence for five reasons. The conclusion therefore is that the following causes explain the high offspring mortality rate before emergence: predation, kills by residents, illegal trade, shortages of food and/or water and climate change. Based on the conclusions, it is recommended to prevent or reverse thorn bush encroachment, to preserve woodlands, to educate residents and to employ rangers to patrol outside protected areas. Some points of discussion are that some information was not double checked to see if it is also reflected in other sources and that some topics were not covered or not extensively covered in this thesis. Follow-up research may be about what causes mortality in cheetah cubs after emergence, about what causes stress in wild cheetahs that results in a pause in reproductivity or about how many cheetah mothers die because of predation and what that means for the population numbers of cheetahs.

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OrganisatieAeres Hogeschool
AfdelingDier- en Veehouderij
PartnerAeres Hogeschool Dronten
Datum2022-07-07
TypeBachelor
TaalEngels

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