Thursday, 7 June 2012

Cheetah in Iran migrating between 2 reserves 130 kilometres apart

Camera trap photos show one cheetah covering large distances
June 2012. Based on recent camera trapping surveys conducted in central Iran, it has been discovered that surprisingly large distances are covered by Asiatic cheetahs. A well-known female cheetah, which has been monitored over the past three years, was found to migrate between two reserves, Siahkouh National Park and Dare Anjir Wildlife Refuge, which are more than 130 kms apart as the crow flies.

The female was first recorded in Siahkouh in 2009 giving birth to a litter of three cheetah cubs; sadly she lost one of her cubs within the first months. She stayed in Siahkouh until the cubs were 2 years old, but then she was spotted in Dare Anjir in 2011 with her cubs. After her two sons became independent, she disappeared from Dare Anjir but recent camera trap photos reveal that she has returned to Siahkouh.
Passed 1 railway & 2 major roads
To complete each leg of this journey, she must have crossed one railway and two main roads. In Africa, cheetahs have been reported to walk long distances, usually following the migration patterns of their main prey. However, such a phenomenon has not been investigated among Asiatic cheetahs, and this new evidence indicates that these cheetah habitats are still connected and have to be managed as a unit. Presently, camera traps have been deployed in this area as well as its neighbouring Abbas Abad Wildlife Refuge to try to find out if the "Mother" has new cubs.
Asiatic cheetah in IranOccurring in very low density, Asiatic cheetahs have has little systematic monitoring in Iran. Three years ago, a monitoring project was launched which led to the largest ever camera trapping program in Iran, initiated last winter within four reserves in central Iran. 

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