Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Can big cats co-exist? Study challenges lion threat to cheetah cubs

Date:
December 2, 2013
Source:
Wiley
Summary:
New research into cheetah cub survival has refuted the theory that lions are a cub's main predator and that big cats cannot coexist in conservation areas. The study found that cubs in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park were seven times more likely to survive then on the Serengeti Plains and that lions were not found to be the cubs' main predatory threat.

The authors argue that rather than being the norm, the low survival of cheetah cubs reported on the Serengeti Plains may be exceptional. The plains are open landscapes, making cubs more vulnerable to predators.
Credit: Wiley

New research into cheetah cub survival has refuted the theory that lions are a cub's main predator and that big cats cannot coexist in conservation areas. The study, published in the Journal of Zoology, found that cubs in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park were seven times more likely to survive then on the Serengeti Plains and that lions were not found to be the cubs' main predatory threat.

Previously, research on the Serengeti Plains found that only 4.8% of 125 cheetah cubs (Acinonyx jubatus) monitored from the den to adolescence survived. The theory that cheetah cubs are at high risk from lions has impacted conservation strategies as it is believed protected areas may not be suitable for cheetahs if they cannot coexist with large predators.

In the latest study the authors visited a series of dens to study the litters of six adult female cheetahs. They found that in Kgalagadi 55% of litters and 53.6% of cubs survived to emergence. Lions were found to account for only 6.7% of mortality cases, in contrast with the Serengeti where 78.2% of cases were ascribed to lions.

The authors argue that rather than being the norm, the low survival of cheetah cubs reported on the Serengeti Plains may be exceptional. The plains are open landscapes, making cubs more vulnerable to predators.

There are also major differences in the cheetah's prey. In the Serengeti, gazelles are migratory, which may make it difficult for adult females to hunt. However in Kgalagadi, the steenbok population is sedentary and represents a constant source of food.

"Our study has shown that, contrary to popular belief, cheetah cub mortality may not always be inordinately high, and that lions are not necessarily their major predator," said Dr. Michael Gus Mills. "Cheetahs can coexist successfully in protected areas with other large carnivores."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. G. L. Mills, M. E. J. Mills. Cheetah cub survival revisited: a re-evaluation of the role of predation, especially by lions, and implications for conservation. Journal of Zoology, 2013; DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12087

Cite This Page:

Wiley. "Can big cats co-exist? Study challenges lion threat to cheetah cubs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202121308.htm>.
Wiley. (2013, December 2). Can big cats co-exist? Study challenges lion threat to cheetah cubs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 3, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202121308.htm
Wiley. "Can big cats co-exist? Study challenges lion threat to cheetah cubs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202121308.htm (accessed September 3, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) You're more likely to gain weight while watching action flicks than you are watching other types of programming, says a new study published in JAMA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Get A Mortgage, Receive A Cat — Only In Russia

Get A Mortgage, Receive A Cat — Only In Russia

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The incentive is in keeping with a Russian superstition that it's good luck for a cat to be the first to cross the threshold of a new home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

AFP (Sep. 2, 2014) Tourists in Palau clamour to dive with sharks thanks to a pioneering conservation initiative -- as the island nation plans to completely ban commercial fishing in its vast ocean territory. 01:15 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins