Tuesday 24 February 2009

Desert Cheetah

The rare desert cheetah has been photographed by a camera trap in the Algerian Sahara. The desert cheetah is (as I understand it) a sub-species of the cheetah and it was thought that there were no more than 250 adult Sahara or Northwest Africa cheetahs in the wild. They are considered therefore to be critically endangered. Yet, it has to be said that little is known about population size so I am not sure how the authorities (presumed IUCN Red List - see IUCN Red List for cats) came to that conclusion. Probably by common sense. The camera traps (cameras set up to be fired off by the movement of animals in front of the camera) were set up to provide information about population size, interaction with the environment and movements.

Apparently 1,750 square miles of the Sahara is being surveyed. The research is being carried out by ZSL, Office du Parc National de l'Ahaggar and the Universite de Bejaia, supported by the Wildlife Conservation Society and Panthera.

My mind wanders to a story I recently read about concerning the generation of electricity through solar power in the Sahara to supply European homes. The intention is to meet targets in reducing carbon dioxide emmissions in Europe. Will this massive project further impact on the cheetah habitat, which is gradually being eroded to next to nothing in comparison to years ago? Is the desert cheetah going to become even more endangered?

Desert Cheetah to Cat Facts

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